Pickup Driver Hits Bus And Kills 8, Arrested On DUI Charges

(RepublicanReport.org) – Driving under the influence (DUI), whether of drugs or alcohol, can have catastrophic consequences for both the driver and others on the road. It’s one of the main reasons that penalties for this infraction are so high. In Florida, a 41-year-old man has been arrested and charged with multiple offenses related to a crash that killed eight people and injured dozens of others.

The Crash

On Tuesday, May 14, around 6:40 a.m., a Ford pickup truck crossed the center line on a two-lane road in Ocala, Florida, striking a bus. The impact caused the bus to veer off the side of the road, where it struck two fences and a tree before it flipped over. The accident killed eight people onboard and injured 40 others. The bus was full of migrant farmworkers, many in the US on H-2A visas, headed to a harvesting job in Dunnellon.

Several people in the vehicle at the time of the crash said it didn’t have seatbelts. Images of the accident scene show the bus heavily damaged, with smashed windows, the top hatch, and the emergency rear door ajar. The driver’s airbag was deployed.

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador was notified and said that 44 of the workers were Mexican citizens in the US on seasonal or temporary visas.

Truck Driver Arrested, Has Long History

The pickup truck driver, 41-year-old Bryan Maclean Howard, was found non-responsive at the scene and transported to a local medical center for treatment. He later spoke with investigators and said he had smoked marijuana oil the previous night. He had also taken three medications, Klonopin, Clonidine, and Lyrica, before going to bed between 11:30 p.m. and midnight. Authorities noted in an affidavit that he was slurring his speech and had bloodshot, watery eyes.

Police arrested Howard and charged him with eight counts of DUI manslaughter. He was remanded to jail without bond and pleaded not guilty.

During questioning, Howard revealed he had been in another crash just days prior. In that incident, he “wrapped his mother’s car around a tree” because he was trying to avoid hitting an animal in the road. His driving record also revealed that he has a record of driving infractions, including numerous tickets, one of which was for crossing the center line, and has had his license suspended three times. He also has a grand theft auto conviction and had his subsequent probation revoked for cocaine use.

The accident has also triggered an investigation into the labor practices of the farm. Anonymous tips are welcome from anyone with information to report about the employer, Cannon Farms.

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