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Driver in deadly Central Florida migrant bus crash arrested for DUI manslaughter

Bryan Howard is charged with eight counts of DUI manslaughter
Marion County bus crash
Posted at 11:29 AM, May 14, 2024
and last updated 2024-05-14 17:53:18-04

UPDATE (5:00 p.m.):

Florida Highway Patrol arrested the driver of the pick-up truck and has charged him with eight counts of DUI manslaughter.

41-year-old Bryan Howard is accused of side swiping the bus, causing it to overturn. The crash killed eight people and sent about 40 passengers to the hospital.

FHP says the identities of the deceased will be released once next of kin is notified.

According to court records, Howard has been arrested or cited with several traffic crimes including:

  • Driving with a suspended, revoked or canceled license in 2013, 2018 and 2021 (this charge was dropped).
  • Careless driving in 2018 and 2019 (dismissed).
  • Driving with an expired license in 2010 and 2018.
  • Hit-and-run in 2006 and 2019.

ORIGINAL STORY:

A bus carrying farmworkers in central Florida overturned on Tuesday, killing eight people and injuring about 40 other passengers, authorities said.

The bus was transporting 53 farmworkers when it collided in a sideswiped manner with a truck in Marion County, more than an hour north of Orlando, the Florida Highway Patrol said.

Authorities say the bus swerved off a road. It crashed through a fence and ended up on its side in a field. The workers were being transported to Cannon Farms in Dunellon, which has been harvesting watermelons.

Cannon Farms released the following statement on Facebook:

We will be closed today 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.

We appreciate your understanding at this difficult time.
Cannon Farms

Records from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration shows Olvera Trucking Harvesting Corp is based out of Immokalee.

A U.S. Department of Labor work order form lists a job from the trucking company, which was looking for an agricultural equipment operator. The job description was looking for a worker to drive workers to and from the work site. They would also operate equipment to harvest watermelon.

According to the documents, the job started on May 1 and was intended to end on June 4.

The description says proof an an accident-free driving record and background check needed to be shown for this job.

It says housing for the employee would be in Gainesville and they would travel to Cannon Farms in Homasassa Springs.

According to FOX affiliate WOFL in Orlando, the crash happened shortly after 6:30 a.m. on SR-40, west of SW 148 Court, between Dunnellon and Ocala.

The 40 people injured in the crash were taken to local hospitals, FHP said. Their conditions are unknown.

SR-40 is currently shut down from S.W. 180th Avenue Road to S.W. 140th Avenue.

The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) said the area will be closed for an "extended period of time" as crews investigate.