Joevanny and Lorena Vargas were used to buying school supplies and clothes in pairs for their twin daughters, Miranda and Madison. Each morning, by habit, Joevanny still calls out, “Miranda, Madison, please come down!”

But Miranda was killed in a devastating school bus crash on Route 80 in May, and now only Madison comes down, Joevanny said through tears Tuesday.

The grieving father was joined by state and local officials outside the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission office in Lodi to support proposed state and federal measures that would ensure stricter background checks for school bus drivers.

In May, a school bus carrying 38 fifth-grade students and seven adults from East Brook Middle School in Paramus on a field trip to Waterloo Village was struck by a dump truck, killing Miranda Vargas, 10, and a teacher, Jennifer Williamson Kennedy. Dozens of others were injured.

The bus driver, Hudy Muldrow Sr., 77, was allegedly attempting an illegal U-turn on a police turnaround before the accident in Mount Olive, having missed his exit. It was later found that Muldrow’s license had been suspended 14 times, most recently in December. Muldrow now faces two charges of vehicular homicide.

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