Florida bus carrying migrant farmworkers crashes, killing at least 8 and injuring dozens more: officials

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The Florida Highway Patrol has arrested and charged the driver of a pickup truck that crashed into a farmworker bus early Tuesday, leaving eight people dead and 40 others hospitalized.

Authorities confirmed Bryan Maclean Howard was charged with eight counts of DUI manslaughter, according to a Tuesday afternoon update from Florida Highway Patrol (FHP).

The 2010 International Bus was carrying 53 workers around 6:30 a.m., when the vehicle collided with a 2001 Ford Ranger pickup truck in “a sideswiped manner” on West State Road 40 in Marion County, the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) said.

After the collision, the bus careened off the road and plowed through a fence before overturning.

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Of those hospitalized, eight people were critically injured, while 30 others were treated for non-life-threatening injuries. Howard was also hospitalized with serious injuries, officials said.

“Our sympathies and prayers are with the families of the deceased. Consistent with our duties, the Florida Highway Patrol will conduct both a thorough and exhaustive traffic crash and criminal investigation,” FHP said in a statement. 

Identities of the deceased will be released pending next of kin notification.

first responders at bus crash

According to the Marion County Sheriff’s Office, Howard has a lengthy criminal history dating back to the mid 2000s with charges including driving with a suspended license, leaving the scene of a crash, trespassing, drug possession and grand theft.

bus wreck

Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods confirmed during a news conference that the bus was carrying migrant workers, which he said was common in the agricultural county.

The bus was taking the workers to Cannon Farms in Dunnellon when the fatal crash occurred, officials said.

fire officials at bus wreck

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The Marion County Sheriff’s Office said West Highway 40 was closed due to a “severe accident with fatalities,” and advised drivers to take an alternate route.

authorities at scene of bus crash

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The FHP is leading the investigation. FHP Lt. Pat Riordan said the investigation would be “lengthy,” with no conclusion expected for at least six months.

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