N.J. Legislature Holds Hearing on Bus Safety; School Board Approves Upgraded Belts

UPDATED — JUNE 20 — The New Jersey Senate & Assembly Transportation Committees held a joint hearing in Trenton on Monday, June 18, on school bus safety, and focused on the deadly bus accident in Paramus in May 2018. The Assembly Transportation Committee also passed three bills on Monday, one of which would require upgraded seat belts. Also on Monday, the Paramus school board voted to require its buses to be equipped with shoulder-restraint-style (three point) seat belts for buses it is planning to purchase, for an extra $5,300 per bus. The board also said it will request bids for retrofitting all of its current buses with the new style belts, northjersey.com reported.

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Lawyers Begin Circling N.J. Bus Crash, Comment on Liability

UPDATE — JUNE 8 — On May 31, the USA Today Network reported that the New Jersey Department of Education “told the Paramus schools superintendent in December that a school bus driver involved in a fatal crash was ineligible to drive and asked her to acknowledge that the district would comply with that determination, documents show.”

The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission also confirmed that the bus driver’s license was suspended 14 times in past years, with the most recent suspension occurring in Dec. 2017. Meanwhile, the 77-year-old accused bus driver is scheduled to appear in court on June 25 for a mandatory pre-indictment conference (hearing). “As currently charged, Muldrow legally faces between 10 and 20 years in prison—between five and 10 years for each fatality,” noted the Daily Record.

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Chattanooga School Bus Driver Sentenced to 4 Years in Prison

UPDATE — JUNE 15 — Former Durham School Services bus driver Johnthony Walker, who was convicted in March 2018 of criminally negligent homicide, was also charged yesterday, June 14, with aggravated statutory rape. He was “arrested Thursday in Nashville, where he was free on bond while appealing his March conviction on charges of criminally negligent homicide and assault in the bus crash in Chattanooga,” reported FoxNews. Local media outlets cited an arrest report that stated Walker admitted to having sex with a 14-year-old on five occasions.” He was reportedly staying with the victim’s family for a few months.” He was sentenced to four years in prison for crashing his school bus on Nov. 21, 2016, killing six children and injuring 23 more.

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