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8 dead after bus carrying farm workers in Florida hit by truck, whose driver is charged with DUI-manslaughter

  

Category:  News & Politics

Via:  perrie-halpern  •  one week ago  •  19 comments

By:   Marlene Lenthang and Corky Siemaszko

8 dead after bus carrying farm workers in Florida hit by truck, whose driver is charged with DUI-manslaughter
Eight people were dead and 40 others were hospitalized after a bus carrying farm workers collided with a pickup truck and overturned early Tuesday in north central Florida, officials said.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T


Eight people were dead and 40 others were hospitalized after a bus carrying farm workers collided with a pickup truck and overturned early Tuesday in north central Florida, officials said.

The driver of the pickup, Bryan Maclean Howard, survived and was charged with eight counts of driving under the influence-manslaughter, said David Kerner, executive director of the state Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles.

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

The deadly collision happened around 6:35 a.m. on a hilly and rain-slicked rural road about 80 miles north of Orlando, the highway patrol said.

The bus, a 2010 International, was heading west on State Road 40 when, "for unknown reasons," a 2001 Ford Ranger "traveled toward the centerline" and the vehicles sideswiped each other, Highway Patrol Lt. Pat Riordan told reporters.

The bus, which was carrying about 50 people, barreled off the roadway, went through a fence, struck a tree and overturned in a field, Riordan said.

Forty of the bus passengers were hospitalized, Riordan said. At least eight of them were critically injured, according to the Marion County Fire Rescue service, which had initially reported that 53 people had been injured.

Riordan warned there was a "high probability" that the death count could rise because many of the injured were "in very serious condition."

"At this point, we are conducting a massive traffic homicide investigation," Riordan said.

The driver of the Ford pickup was also taken to the hospital with serious injuries, he said.

Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods told reporters over 30 ambulances were at the scene and described the victims as "hard-working individuals." He said the rain and the slick road conditions may have been factors in the crash.

Meanwhile, Dominique O'Connor of the Farmworker Association of Florida said it was trying to help local authorities aid the victims and their families, most of whom speak only Spanish and are not from the area.

"These workers are all here on H-2A work visas," O'Connor said.

The H-2A program allows certain U.S. employers to bring foreign nationals into the country to fill temporary agricultural jobs, O'Connor said.

In Orlando, the Mexican Consulate said on X that emergency telephone numbers are being made available for information about any Mexican people potentially involved in the crash or their family members.

The workers were headed to the family-owned Cannon Farms in Dunnellon, NBC affiliate WESH of Orlando reported, citing the highway patrol.

Cannon Farms announced on social media early Tuesday that it would be closed "out of respect to the losses and injuries endured early this morning in the accident that took place to the Olvera Trucking Harvesting Corp."

"Please pray with us for the families and the loved ones involved in this tragic accident," Cannon Farms said. "We appreciate your understanding at this difficult time."

Calls to Cannon Farms went to a recorded message that said: "This is Cannon Farms. I just wanted to let everybody know that we are going to be closed due to a tragic accident. Please pray for the families of those involved and the losses of loved ones."

Olvera Trucking did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Ambulances took the injured to several local hospitals. And at the request of first responders, Marion County Public Schools used one of its buses to ferry some of the victims to hospitals.

AdventHealth Ocala said it was treating 16 patients: 12 in the main emergency department at AdventHealth Ocala and four at AdventHealth Timber Ridge ER, Dr. Rodrigo Torres, AdventHealth Ocala's chief medical officer, said in a statement.

Two HCA Florida Healthcare facilities in Ocala were also treating patients: seven in critical condition and two stable at HCA Florida Ocala Hospital and one stable at HCA Florida West Marion Hospital.


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Kavika
Professor Principal
1  Kavika     one week ago

This is a few miles from our house and according to the local news last night the 8 are still in critical condition.

Dead, injured and families crushed all because of a drunk driver.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
1.1  Trout Giggles  replied to  Kavika @1    one week ago

Sad. I hope that pick-up driver survives his injuries so he can prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
1.1.1  Kavika   replied to  Trout Giggles @1.1    one week ago

The news report said he wasn't badly inured and has already been charged with 8 counts of vehicular manslaughter with more charges to be added.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
1.1.2  Trout Giggles  replied to  Kavika @1.1.1    one week ago

good!

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
1.1.3  Tessylo  replied to  Kavika @1.1.1    one week ago

That's always the way - the drunk shithead kills and injures many but walks away probably virtually unscathed.

Like TG said though, good, can stand trial now.

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
1.1.4  Tessylo  replied to  Tessylo @1.1.3    one week ago

It turns out he wasn't drunk.  While I was getting ready for work this morning, I heard something on the news about cannabis oil.

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
1.1.5  devangelical  replied to  Tessylo @1.1.4    one week ago

I think I read he was taking prescription drugs as well...

 
 
 
evilone
Professor Guide
1.2  evilone  replied to  Kavika @1    one week ago
...all because of a drunk driver.

At freaking 6:35 in the morning! WTF?

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
1.2.1  Trout Giggles  replied to  evilone @1.2    one week ago

He left the bar at 0630

 
 
 
evilone
Professor Guide
1.2.2  evilone  replied to  Trout Giggles @1.2.1    one week ago

FL bars are open that early? That's pretty wild.

 
 
 
Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
1.2.3  Trout Giggles  replied to  evilone @1.2.2    one week ago

I was thinking "open that late"

 
 
 
evilone
Professor Guide
1.2.4  evilone  replied to  Trout Giggles @1.2.3    one week ago

Bars here close 2am. That's a change from when I closed down bars at 1am years ago.

 
 
 
Right Down the Center
Senior Guide
1.2.5  Right Down the Center  replied to  evilone @1.2.4    one week ago

Don't know how it is now but a couple bars in Rochester New York were given a special permit to open at 6:00 AM to accommodate the third shift of Eastman Kodak getting out.

 
 
 
JohnRussell
Professor Principal
1.2.6  JohnRussell  replied to  Trout Giggles @1.2.3    one week ago

There are some private social clubs that people who work a late shift at the plant can go to when they get off work. Not a widespread thing, but there are some out there. 

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
1.2.7  devangelical  replied to  JohnRussell @1.2.6    one week ago

they're called key clubs in the south. private, to get around discrimination. I once tortured some arkansas goober truck driver that told me he and his wife owned one, by playing dumb and asking him questions about it in front of our shipping clerk, that was black. he left in a huff and his last words to me were "you just don't understand what it's like in the south!". stupid fucking racist goober...

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
1.2.8  devangelical  replied to  Trout Giggles @1.2.1    one week ago

there's one by me that opens at 7am, same 3 cars parked in front every day, and they don't serve breakfast either...

 
 
 
Kavika
Professor Principal
2  Kavika     one week ago

He has been charged with a DUI but it is under influence of drugs, not alcohol. He had another accident 3 days ago and has an fairly extensive  prior record.

 
 
 
devangelical
Professor Principal
2.1  devangelical  replied to  Kavika @2    one week ago

in colorado, an accident involving DUI can drag the bar and anyone in it that over served the perp into court.

 
 
 
Tessylo
Professor Principal
2.1.1  Tessylo  replied to  devangelical @2.1    one week ago

Don't know if that's still the case in Maryland now, but I believe I recall similar laws some years ago

 
 

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