Tragic accident claims lives of eight farmworkers

Tragic accident claims lives of eight farmworkers
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Yesterday a bus transporting approximately 50 farmworkers to Cannon Farms in Dunnellon, FL, was hit by an oncoming pickup truck that crossed over the center line of the road, sending the bus off the road where it overturned after crashing through a fence and hitting a tree .

Officials at the scene said there were eight fatalities. Of the remaining passengers, 34 were transported to local hospitals with eight in critical condition and the other 26 with non-life-threatening injuries.

Bryan Maclean Howard, the driver of the pickup, was arrested yesterday afternoon and charged with eight counts of driving under the influence – manslaughter. Howard has a history of driving-related offenses, including two instances of leaving the scene of a crash.

“We’re a big agricultural county,” Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods said at the scene. “This time of year we have migrant workers on buses like this… and that’s who we’re here to help.” Woods said there were more than 30 ambulances present.

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Cannon Farms said it would be closed yesterday and today out of respect for the losses and injuries. “Please pray with us for the families and the loved ones involved in this tragic accident,” the company said on its Facebook page.

The Farmworker Association of Florida organized a gofundme for farmworkers who were impacted by a tragic accident.

Transportation incidents, which include tractor overturns and roadway crashes, were the leading cause of death for these farmers and farm workers, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

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