School bus driver sentenced to 10 years in prison for deadly New Jersey crash

MORRISTOWN, New Jersey (WABC) -- A former New Jersey school bus driver was sentenced to 10 years in prison Wednesday for causing a deadly crash in 2018.

It has been nearly two years since Hudy Muldrow made an illegal U-turn on Interstate 80 in Mount Olive, killing a teacher and student and leaving more than 40 other people injured.

Now, the 79-year-old Muldrow must serve at least five years and nine months before he is eligible for parole.

The courtroom was packed with dozens of family members of victims in the May 17, 2018, crash, which killed 10-year-old Miranda Vargas and 51-year-old Jennifer Williamson-Kennedy.

"You are a very lucky man," said Delores Williamson, Jennifer's mother. "You are able to wake up to see your family, play with your grandchildren, wake up to see the sun shining, enjoy your meal. Everything you can do was taken away from my precious daughter."

Muldrow pleaded guilty back in December to reckless vehicular homicide, vehicular assault and child endangerment, admitting he drove the school bus sideways across I-80.

He said he missed his exit and tried to make an illegal U-turn in May of 2018.

A dump truck hit the bus, and the force ripped the cab from the chassis.

Prosecutors had recommended the maximum sentence, and the judge obliged. Muldrow also spoke, apologizing to the families and saying he is sorry every day.

"The pain and suffering caused by this defendant are immeasurable and will continue forever," Morris County Prosecutor Fredric Knapp said. "The mass casualties and carnage caused by his criminal acts required the New Jersey State prison sentence imposed by the court today. We sincerely hope that the courageous surviving victims, mostly children, and their families will be able to accept this small measure of closure and solace for their collective and individual loss."

Muldrow's lawyer had argued he should serve less time because he's elderly and was sober at the time of the accident.

The defendant's son asked the judge for mercy.

In the months following the crash, New Jersey passed a law requiring all school buses to have three-point seat belts.

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