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  • News 12

    Paramus community honors student, teacher killed in school bus crash six years ago

    By Tom Krosnowski,


    Friday marked six years since a Paramus fifth grade student and teacher were killed in a school bus crash on Interstate 80 in Mount Olive.

    The benches at Besen Park in Paramus are a tribute to 10-year-old Miranda Vargas and her teacher, Jennifer Williamson.

    Williamson’s brother says that the location - less than a mile from East Brook Middle School - is a fitting tribute.

    Doug Williamson visits this site every so often. On the anniversary date, the school honored Ms. Williamson by playing her favorite movie, “Free Willy,” and her favorite musician - Rod Stewart.

    Doug Williamson says he first heard of the crash on the news.

    RELATED: Family of student killed in 2018 I-80 school bus crash awarded $7 million settlement

    “I texted her, and she didn’t text me back,” he said. “And she would always text back immediately.”

    He says the family later found out she saved some of her students’ lives.

    “She laid across two students and acted as a human safety belt,” Doug Williamson said. “The two students that she laid across were unharmed.”

    There were more than 40 people on that bus - including 10-year-old Miranda Vargas.

    “My heart just goes out to all the families - to the Vargas family,” Dough Williamson said.

    “There was an outpouring of love and support to the Vargas family, which was much appreciated,” said attorney Bruce Nagel, who represented the Vargas family. “To lose a child is the worst possible tragedy for any family, and I think they struggle with that on a daily basis.”

    New Jersey law now requires new school buses to have three-point lap and shoulder seat belts. “Miranda’s Law” has been pitched federally.

    “It breaks my heart that something like this had to happen for us to work on this,” Dough Williamson said.

    The bus driver, now 83-year-old Hudy Muldrow, was sentenced in 2020 to 10 years in prison. He will be parole-eligible on Sunday.

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