What to Know
- Officials told the Paramus schools superintendent last December that bus driver Hudy Muldrow Sr. was ineligible to drive, documents show
- The letter appears to contradict the superintendent's claim that she was never warned of Muldrow's infractions
- Muldrow was behind the wheel of the school bus when he allegedly made an illegal U-turn on Route 80; the crash with a dump truck killed two
Newly obtained documents appear to contradict the Paramus schools superintendent's claim that she had no idea that the driver in the deadly bus crash that killed a teacher and a student had a checkered driving record.
NorthJersey.com reports that Superintendent Michele Robinson was notified about 77-year-old Hudy Muldrow Sr.'s violations last December, months before he was behind the wheel in the crash that killed 10-year-old Miranda Vargas and teacher Jennifer Williamson Kennedy.
State motor vehicle records show that Muldrow had his license suspended 14 times between 1975 and 2017, mostly for administrative reasons. The most recent license suspension was in December for failing to pay parking tickets. He also had eight speeding violations between 1975 and 2001.
Robinson told News 4 in a statement earlier this month, days after the crash, that she was "shocked, saddened and angry" to read news reports about Muldrow's driving record.
"Nothing that was provided to the district by the state reflected that the driver had any moving violations," she said at the time. "In fact, all we were told is that he was a driver in good standing and eligible to operate a school bus."
But on Dec. 21, 2017, the New Jersey state education department notified the superintendent that his endorsement to drive school buses had "been suspended or revoked, and his medical certification has expired," adding, "You are hereby notified that the above-named driver is ineligible for employment as a school bus driver."
The letters do not explain why his driving privileges had been revoked, but state guidelines say they can be revoked because of a criminal history or a disqualifying medical condition.
The letter said, "Please confirm your compliance with this determination in writing."
However, the school district in January received another letter from the state education department saying Muldrow was allowed to be back behind the wheel and recertified to drive school children.
In a statement to News 4 Thursday, Robinson said, "The information we were provided was that Mr. Muldrow’s license was suspended for a period of time during the winter recess when schools were closed, not related to any moving violations.
"During that time, Mr. Muldrow submitted his updated medical information to the Motor Vehicle Commission. The state subsequently informed us that Mr. Muldrow was a driver in good standing and eligible to operate a school bus."
Muldrow's attorney, Matthew Reisig, has defended his driving record as "above average" and noted the speeding tickets spanned 43 years and none had resulted in a license suspension.
Muldrow was released Wednesday from the Morris County jail, where he has been held since his arrest last week, as he awaits his trial on charges of death by auto.
A criminal complaint alleges the 77-year-old Muldrow missed a turn for the Waterloo Village historic site and tried to make an illegal U-turn on the interstate. The bus collided with a dump truck, and the impact tore the bus apart.