MORRISTOWN, N. J. – A school bus driver is facing two counts of vehicle homicide as a result of a crash this month on Interstate 80 was released pending his trial on Wednesday over the objections of plaintiffs.
Hudy Muldrow sat still in the court for a large part of the two-hour, 30-minute detention hearing — a staple in criminal matters in New Jersey since the state has with the money from the bail at the beginning of last year. In the gallery, a number of Muldrow’s family and friends and nodded and held hands after the judge announced his decision. They declined to comment after the hearing.
State Superior Court Judge Stephen Taylor ordered Muldrow released from the Morris County jail, where he has been held since his arrest last week. He will be required to give up his driver’s license and report to court staff twice a month.
Muldrow faces two counts of vehicle homicide arising out of the May 17 crash on Interstate 80 in the western part of the state of New Jersey. Morris County Assistant prosecutor Matthew Troiano argued Muldrow had incentive to flee, because a conviction on both surfaces, which are provided with a 10-year maximum sentence, could doom him to die in prison.
Muldrow was driving one of the three buses that fifth-graders on a field trip from a high school in Paramus, about 15 miles northwest of New York City.
A criminal complaint alleges the 77-year-old Muldrow missed a bend just before the Village of Waterloo historic site and tried to make an illegal U-turn on the highway. The bus collided with a dump truck, and the impact ripped the bus apart. Muldrow’s attorney on Wednesday argued there is no evidence that his client is trying to make a left turn into the median in an area reserved for emergency vehicles.
Ten-year-old Miranda Vargas and a 51-year-old teacher Jennifer Williamson were killed, and more than 40 others were injured, some seriously. Vargas’ father, and Williamson (man attended Wednesday’s hearing. Kevin Kennedy said in a handwritten statement that “Mrs. Jennifer Williamson-Kennedy gave it all to others every day, and asked nothing in return. Today, tomorrow, and for always can the world to follow her example.”
Much attention is paid to Muldrow the row-history — he had his licence suspended 14 times between 1975 and 2017, mostly for administrative reasons, according to motor vehicle records. The most recent license suspension was in December for not paying a parking ticket. He also had eight speeding violations between 1975 and 2001.
On Wednesday, Muldrow’s attorney, Matthew Reisig, defended as an “above average” driving record, and be on the speeding tickets spanned 43 years, and none had resulted in a license suspension.
Troiano, disagree, call Muldrow the row-record “horrible.”
Taylor noted that the court in a pro forma assessment had recommended release, but he added the condition that Muldrow will give his personal and commercial licenses.
“I’m not completely comfortable with the Lord Muldrow use of a type of engine of the vehicle,” he said.