Route 80 Bus Crash Victim’s Family Suing Trucking Company: Report

PARAMUS, NJ — The parents of one of the children injured in the horrific school bus crash May 17 are suing the company that owns the dump truck that collided with the bus, according to an report.

The parents of Asher Amir Majeed claim in their lawsuit he suffered “severe, grievous, permanent, and painful injuries,” as a result of the crash, according to the report. Majeed remains in the hospital.

Majeed’s parents also filed a tort claim, a notice of their intent to sue the Paramus School District for negligence, reported.

The family filed the lawsuit in state Superior Court Wednesday. Belleville-based Mendez Trucking and the truck’s driver drove the truck in a “negligent and careless manner,” did not make “proper observations,” and failed to maintain a safe speed, according to the report.

Mendez Trucking has been involved in eight crashes in the past two years, including five crashes with injuries, federal records show. None of the crashes before May 17 were fatal.

Mendez Trucking currently has 41 trucks and 41 drivers, and has been issued 247 violations since May 2016, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Most of those violations were for vehicle maintenance, like broken lights, falling cargo, or carrying more weight than the trucks should. Five were for speeding.

No drivers have been issued drug or alcohol violations, but two were issued “driver fitness” violations. Neither of those violations were considered acute or critical.

The company’s out-of-service rate (a measure of how often trucks have to be taken off the road following more serious violations) is 37.9 percent, nearly double the national average of 20.7 percent. The driver out-of-service rate is much lower than the national average, however; Mendez’s driver out-of-service rate is .8 percent, while the national rate is 5.5 percent.

Bruce Nagle, of the law firm Nagel Rice, is representing the Majeeds. He did not respond to several phone messages left for him Thursday.

The bus was one of three headed to Waterloo Village when the crash occurred. The bus was on I-80 when it collided with a dump truck. Student Miranda Faith Vargas and teacher Jennifer Williamson Kennedy died in the crash.

Vargas’ family intends to sue the school district and borough over the crash.

Authorities are investigating the possibility that Hudy Muldrow Sr., the bus’ driver was making an illegal U-turn when the dump truck and the bus collided.

Investigators previously  showed NBC 4 video footage from a Department of Transportation camera showing the bus cutting across lanes of traffic to attempt an illegal U-turn through an area for emergency vehicles. The video reportedly shows the dump truck slamming into the bus as it attempts to get onto I-80 eastbound.

The 43 other people on the bus were also hurt, some critically.

Muldrow was charged with two counts of death by auto, commonly referred to as vehicular manslaughter.

School District Superintendent Michele Robinson previously said that Muldrow was in good standing with the state and eligible to  operate a school bus despite his driver’s license being suspended several times.