A Road in Marion County, Florida
The crash happened around 6.30 am in west Marion county, Florida, according to the Florida highway patrol. Marion County Sheriff's Office's Facebook

The driver that crashed against a bus in central Florida on Tuesday, killing eight workers (Mexicans among them) and injuring dozens more, has been arrested on drunken driving under the influence-manslaughter, state Highway Patrol said.

Bryan Maclean Howard faces eight such cases, authorities said. They didn't clarify the substance he was allegedly on at the time of the crash, which left dozens more injured, including seven in critical condition. Two others are in stable condition.

Highway Patrol said Howard was driving a pickup truck when he crossed the center line on State Road 40, sideswiping the bus and causing it to veer off the road. The bus then crashed through a fence and into a tree before being overturned. The truck, on its end, had its air bag blown and extensive damage to the driver's side.

The Associated Press reported that Howard has previous arrests for driving with a suspended license, leaving the scene of an accident and marijuana possession.

The workers were heading to a farm in Dunnellon to harvest watermelons. Many such workers are migrants, with Mexico's Foreign Minister, Alicia Bárcena, saying in a post on X that there were people from the country on the bus.

She didn't specify how many, but the Mexican consulate in Orlando said it was making help available to any of the nationals involved in the incident. Highway Patrol has said that the names of the victims will be released after their families are notified.

Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods told reporters that all migrants had documentation. "Everything that I have been told at this point, they all have what they need to be here," Woods said. "There's no reason for me to be involved with these individuals. They're hardworking individuals, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with them being here."

The Labor Department recently announced new seat belt requirements for employer vehicles used for farmworkers on temporary visas, but the measure is set to go into effect on June 28. The Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association has been opposed, calling the seat belt requirement "impractical."

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