Posted Thursday, September 17th, 2020
Advocates Praised for Work in Tragic 2018 Fatal School Bus Crash
Victim Witness Coordinator Donna Pasquariello and Supervisor Amanda Holloway of the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office were presented commendations today for their extensive outreach and communications efforts in the tragic case of a 2018 school bus crash that killed a student, a teacher and injured more than 40 others, mostly children.
The Morris County Prosecutor’s Office praised Pasquariello and Holloway for how they coordinated communications with 45 separate victims and their families during the investigation and subsequent prosecution of school bus driver Hudy Muldrow of Paterson. He was driving a school bus filled with students and teachers from the East Brook Middle School in Paramus when it collided on May 17, 2018 with a dump truck and flipped on its side on Route 80 West in Mount Olive.
The group was on a field trip to historic Waterloo Village when Muldrow missed his exit and attempted to make an illegal U-turn by crossing three lanes of the highway to access a grassy median reserved for official use. The accident killed 5th Grader Miranda Vargas, 10, and teacher Jennifer Williamson, 51.
“Both Donna and Amanda have done outstanding work for crime victims for many years. This case presented an incredible challenge due to the huge number of victims who were predominantly children. For many months, they worked tirelessly to keep the victims and their families informed of all court proceedings and provided information for any services they might need. For all this work, I am extremely proud to sign their commendations,” said Morris County Prosecutor Fredric Knapp.
Muldrow, now 79, was sentenced to up to 10 years in prison in February after pleading guilty to two counts of second degree reckless vehicular homicide, one count of third degree endangering the welfare of children, five counts of fourth degree assault by auto, and one count of disorderly persons assault by auto.
Supervising Assistant Prosecutor Christopher Schellhorn noted the number of separate victims in the case, most of them students and their families, was unprecedented for a single case before the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office. Pasquariello and Holloway were praised for tailoring their outreach strategies to communicate information about the case to meet each family’s diverse needs.
First Assistant Prosecutor Thomas Zelante and Acting Chief of Investigations Christopher Kimker joined Prosecutor Knapp in presenting the commendations.