MOUNT OLIVE, N.J. (AP) — Before a New Jersey school bus collided with a dump truck last week leaving a fifth-grader and a teacher dead, the bus merged onto an interstate and then turned sharply toward an illegal U-turn area, according to a new video.
NJ.com reported the department of transportation video that its reporter viewed shows the bus merging from Route 206 onto Interstate 80 before turning at a nearly perpendicular angle toward a crossover area. Police use the area for turnarounds but civilian turns are not allowed.
State police previously said the bus was merging from 206 onto the interstate on its way to a historic village for a field trip.
The driver, identified by his son as Hudy Muldrow Sr., had a history of license suspensions and speeding violations.
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The state Motor Vehicle Commission said Tuesday that Muldrow had his license suspended 14 times between 1975 and 2017, most for administrative reasons. The most recent license suspension was in December for not paying parking tickets. He also had eight speeding violations between 1975 and 2001.
At the time of the crash last Thursday, Muldrow had valid driving privileges, a valid commercial driver’s license and a valid school bus endorsement. To get that endorsement, drivers have to undergo a background check, take a road test and pass a written test. Muldrow had no DWIs on his record.
The crash, which sheared the bus from its wheelbase and crushed the dump truck’s front end, left 10-year-old Miranda Vargas and teacher Jennifer Williamson dead. More than 40 others were hurt.
Police declined to comment on the department of transportation video, which has not been publicly released. Morris County prosecutors, who are leading the investigation, did not immediately respond to questions about it.
The bus driver’s son, Hudy Muldrow Jr., says his father told him that he did not make a U-turn.
“I said, ‘Dad, you know, I’m hearing stories that you made an illegal U-turn,’ and as far as that I didn’t get no answer,” Muldrow Jr. told CBS . He later added: “He told me he didn’t do it.”