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Migrant bus crash

Driver charged with DUI manslaughter in crash that killed 8 migrant workers has slew of previous traffic infractions, was in another accident days prior: Records

Police and emergency workers inspect a bus that collided with a small pickup truck, killing eight of the more than 50 migrant workers in the bus on Tuesday, May 14, 2024, in Ocala, Fla. The driver of the pickup, Bryan Maclean Howard, inset, was charged with eight counts of DUI manslaughter. (AP Photo/Alan Youngblood; Mug shot: Marion County Jail)

A driver accused of being under the influence when he crashed into a bus carrying migrant workers, killing eight people and injuring dozens more on a rural Florida road is no stranger to traffic infractions, records show.

Bryan Maclean Howard, 41, is now facing eight counts of DUI manslaughter. Howard was allegedly driving a Ford Ranger the wrong way down State Road 40 in Marion County on Tuesday morning when he collided with a bus full of migrant workers, according to a probable cause affidavit. The bus left the road, overturned and entered a field where it struck two fences. Medical personnel pronounced seven of the workers on the bus dead on the scene. Another died at the hospital. At least 33 passengers were taken to the hospital, along with Howard, who was unconscious when paramedics got to him.

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    When Howard regained consciousness at the hospital, his eyes were bloodshot and watery, and his speech was slurred, the affidavit said. Howard allowed Florida Highway Patrol troopers to take a sample of his blood. He also submitted to a Breathalyzer which came in at 0.00. Howard told troopers he did not remember the crash. He said the night before, he was hanging out with a friend who had a medical marijuana card. The two allegedly smoked marijuana from a vape pen. He then went to his parents’ house, where he fell asleep between 11:30 p.m. and midnight. He awoke at sunrise and hopped into his Ranger.

    Howard was en route to a methadone clinic in Ocala when the crash occurred. He said he was driving “very carefully” because he had been in a separate accident three days earlier, the affidavit said. The suspect claimed he “wrapped his mother’s car around a tree trying to avoid an animal that ran out in front of him,” according to the affidavit.

    Troopers then had Howard conduct a series of sobriety tests, which he reportedly failed. They took him into custody on the DUI manslaughter charges. A witness also told troopers she saw Howard swerving his vehicle moments before the crash.

    At his first appearance hearing on Wednesday morning, he told a judge that he’s a self-employed painter and drywall installer with $700 in the bank, The Associated Press reported.

    Records show Howard has a slew of traffic infractions dating back over 20 years. The most recent incident was in 2021, when he was caught driving on a suspended license for a third time. That charge was dismissed. Then, in 2019, he was arrested for careless driving and leaving the scene of an accident with property damage only, according to records. He spent 12 days in jail and served six months on probation, records say.

    Howard spent 30 days in jail in 2006 for leaving the scene of another accident. He also was ticketed in 2003 and 2004 for not wearing a seat belt, according to records.

    The migrant workers were reportedly on their way to harvest watermelons at Cannon Farms in Dunnellon when the accident happened. Howard has pleaded not guilty.

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    The post Driver charged with DUI manslaughter in crash that killed 8 migrant workers has slew of previous traffic infractions, was in another accident days prior: Records first appeared on Law & Crime.