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NJ School Bus Driver Charged In Deadly Crash Released From Jail

PARAMUS, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) -- The driver of a New Jersey school bus involved in a crash that killed a student and teacher has been released pending a possible trial.

But a judge ordered Hudy Muldrow to surrender his personal and professional driver's licenses Wednesday. He's been charged with two counts of death by auto stemming from the May 17 crash on Interstate 80 in Mount Olive.

Authorities allege the 77-year-old Muldrow missed a turn and tried to make an illegal U-turn on the interstate. The bus collided with a dump truck and the impact tore the bus apart.

"This was purposeful conduct. Mr. Muldrow knew exactly what he was doing when he operated that bus," prosecutor Matthew Troiano said.

A 16-second video from an overpass camera will be used as evidence in the possible trial, Baker reported.

Defense attorney Matthew Reisig argued Muldrow was not attempting to make a U-turn.

"He attempted to merge onto Route 80... in the right lane, he hears a horn... and that's all he remembers," he said.

The crash killed 10-year-old Miranda Vargas and teacher Jennifer Williamson Kennedy. More than 40 others were injured.

Vargas' father sat in the front row Wednesday, wearing sunglasses, with hands folded in prayer, Baker reported. Beside him sat Williamson-Kennedy's husband and extended family. Muldrow's family sat behind them.

"I had to be here today for my baby sister. She was a gift to me. She was a hero, she saved so many, so many children," said Douglas Williamson. "My heart is broken. I'm really lost for words. Wanted to extend my love, because we're getting right back."

The bus was one of three carrying fifth-graders on a field trip. The other two buses weren't involved in the accident.

Prosecutors had sought to have Muldrow detained. They cited his history of driving infractions and claimed he posed a flight risk.

Muldrow is not allowed to leave the state of New Jersey and is not allowed to have any contact with the victims of the crash. His next court appearance is June 25. If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in state prison.

(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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