Jennifer Williamson

Photo Credit: Kennedy Family

Funeral Held For Teacher Killed In New Jersey School Bus Crash

May 24, 2018 - 8:05 am
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PARAMUS, N.J. (WCBS 880) -- A funeral was held Thursday for the teacher killed in last week's school bus crash in New Jersey as prosecutors announced charges against the driver

Students and staff from East Brook Middle School attended the funeral for 51-year-old social studies teacher Jennifer Williamson at Our Lady of the Visitation Church in Paramus. She was killed along with 10-year-old Miranda Vargas in the crash on Route 80.

As WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reported, a lone bagpiper played as mourners filed into the Our Lady of the Visitation Roman Catholic Church. They included teary-eyed coworkers, as well as some students that were on the bus with Williamson.

One girl came in with a walker. A boy in a knee brace limped on crutches with a teddy bear hanging off to the side.

Michelle Biasucci taught with Williamson at East Brook.

"She was amazing. She was beloved. Everyone loved her,” Biasuccis said. “She cared about every individual and she went above and beyond."

Williamson’s older brother, Douglas, said she started out in the corporate world. But after the death of their middle brother, Chris, Jennifer learned teaching was her passion and treated her students like they were her own children.

Others, including students, were also in mourning.

"It's very close to us and we're going to miss her and there is going to be a lot going on for the town and for everyone," one woman said.

"When we found out that she passed away on the bus we were all just really devastated because she was one of my favorite teachers," one student said.

"I had her fifth grade, she was definitely one of my favorite teachers. She cared a lot about every student that she had," said Jenna, a sixth grader at the school.

PHOTOS: Deadly New Jersey School Bus Crash

The bus driver, 77-year-old Hudy Muldrow of Paterson, was charged with death by auto Thursday in connection with the crash.

Muldrow should never have been behind the wheel of a school bus, according to the New Jersey motor vehicle commission. Muldrow had his licence suspended 14 times, has eight speeding tickets on his record, as well as one for careless driving.

In a statement to NorthJersey.com, the Paramus Superintendent of Schools Dr. Michelle Robinson said the district had no knowledge of the moving violations.

The school bus was one of three headed out for a field trip for students from East Brook Middle School in Paramus lastThursday.

The bus crashed into a dump truck on Route 80 in Mount Olive, killing Vargas and Williamson and injuring 43 others.

Video of the crash apparently shows the bus driver attempted a U-turn by turning from an access road across the interstate when it was hit by a dump truck. 

The video from the New Jersey Department of Transportation has not been made public, but a source who watched it tells CBS News the bus got off at the exit for Waterloo Village, where the students were heading on the field trip, but the driver made a wrong turn and headed back to Interstate 80, WCBS 880's Alex Silverman reported.

Then instead of merging onto the highway, he tried to make a sharp left from the access road across three lanes of traffic toward a turnaround that's restricted to official vehicles.

At that point, a dump truck traveling westbound crashed slammed into the rear of the bus, separating the cabin of the yellow bus from its chassis.

The National Transportation Safety Board is now suggesting to New Jersey and many states that only require lap belts also to require shoulder belts.