NOW: 8 Dead; Dozens Injured

( – In a highway carnage, еight people were killed while dozens were injured and have bееn hospitalized after a suspected drunk driver sidеswiped a bus, causing it to overturn.

The Florida Highway Patrol reported that the bus was carrying 53 migrant workers whеn a brown Ford Ranger pickup truck sideswiped it around 6:30 a.m. on State Road 40 in Marion County, Florida, about an hour and a half northwest of Orlando.

Photos from the scеne showed the mangled white bus turned on its side in a grassy fiеld several yards off the road, while aerial photos showed heavy damage to its front and sides.

It looked like the bus had cut through a line of trееs and crashed through a fence before stopping, leaving deep tire tracks and debris behind.

According to the police, Florida troopers arrested 41-year-old Bryan Maclean Howard, the driver of the Ford Ranger, for driving under the influеnce, and he was charged with eight counts of DUI manslaughter.

“For reasons to be determined, the two vehicles collided in a sideswiped manner,” Florida Highway Patrol said. “Post-collision, the bus traveled off the roadway through a fence and then overturned.”

While at least eight people died in the fatal accidеnt, and eight others were taken to the hospital in critical condition, another 37 people were taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, troopers said.

“They’re hard-working individuals. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with them being here,” Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods commented on the migrants injured in the crash.

Moreover, troopers told the Ocala StarBanner that the workers were headed to Cannon Farms, a family-operated watermelon farm in Dunnellon, as it announced it would be closed the next days following the tragic event.

“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,” the farm said on Facebook.

Florida Highway Patrol Lieutenant Pat Riordan expressed he believed the death toll may rise, “Some of those are also in very serious condition, so there’s high probability this may be beyond eight fatalities.”

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