Dunnellon, Florida – A tragic accident occurred in Dunnellon, Florida on May 14, 2024, involving a head-on collision between a pickup truck and a bus carrying almost 53-farmworkers. The collision resulted in eight fatalities and around 40 individuals sustaining injuries.

The Florida Highway Patrol (FHP) identified the driver of the pickup truck as 41-year-old Bryan Maclean Howard. He has been arrested and charged with eight counts of DUI manslaughter.

According to Lt. Pat Riordan, who is the public affairs officer of the FHP, “the incident occurred around 6:40 am on State Road 40, a two-lane highway near Dunnellon. Howard, allegedly driving a 2001 Ford Ranger, reportedly crossed the center line and sideswiped a 2010 International Bus transporting migrant workers to a local farm. The impact caused the bus to careen off the road, crash through a fence, strike a tree, and ultimately overturn.”

We are conducting a massive traffic homicide investigation. This will be a very long and lengthy investigation,” Pat Riordan revealed in a news conference.

Eight passengers on the bus tragically lost their lives in the accident. The FHP has not yet released the identities of the deceased pending notification of next of kin. At least 40 other individuals on the bus sustained injuries. 

Video from news channel depicted the overturned bus, identified by Riordan as transporting workers to a nearby farm, resting on its side in a field. First responders’ vehicles, their lights flashing, were seen parked nearby.

According to CNN “Howard told authorities he smoked marijuana oil with a friend the night before the crash, according to the report, and also told police he took three prescribed medications before going to bed around 11:30 p.m. 

Citing Howard’s involvement in a car accident “at least three days prior” to the bus crash, a state judge Wednesday also stipulated he is not allowed to operate a motor vehicle while the case is pending, nor may he consume or possess alcohol, a controlled substance or a drug without a prescription. 

Howard said he did not remember how the accident happened and he was “driving very carefully” because he was involved in the car accident days before, the report says.”

According to news, “Authorities are likely conducting a full investigation into Howard’s driving history and the cause of the crash.”

The local community in Marion County is reeling from this tragedy. Officials have expressed their condolences to the families of the deceased and pledged support to those injured. The migrant worker community is also likely to be deeply affected by this loss.

This incident serves as a stark reminder of the dangers of driving under the influence. Law enforcement officials will likely continue to stress the importance of responsible driving to prevent similar tragedies in the future.

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Saam Son

Saam Sons," a literary work, delves into the complex dynamics of family, exploring themes of heritage, identity, and conflict through rich storytelling and nuanced character development.

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