No Bond For Driver Charged In Fla. Migrant Bus Crash

Marion County Sheriff's Office
Credit: Marion County Sheriff’s Office

OAN’s Taylor Tinsley
12:43 PM PT – Wednesday, May 15, 2024

A Florida man is facing eight charges of DUI manslaughter after several migrants were killed during a car accident.

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41-year-old Bryan Howard made his first court appearance on Wednesday, where he was denied bond.

Howard is facing eight counts of DUI manslaughter on Tuesday, after he “sideswiped” a bus carrying 53 migrant farm workers, killing eight and injuring 40 others.

“Post collision the school bus traveled off the roadway onto the grass shoulder where it went through a fence, struck a tree and overturned,” said Florida Highway Patrol  Lt. Patrick Riordan

He pleaded not guilty. 

According to the arrest report, troopers said Howard’s eyes were bloodshot and watery and his speech was slurred.

Several hours after the incident occurred a breathalyzer detected that Howard had a blood alcohol level of 0.000%.

He told police that he smoked marijuana oil the night before and took some prescription pain medications before going to sleep.

Howard also told investigators he was involved in another car accident three days prior to the bus crash.

According to police records, Howard has been getting into trouble with law enforcement since the early 2000’s and has been convicted for many driving-related offenses.

A prosecutor during Wednesday’s hearing listed several of the incidents to argue why Howard should be denied bond.

“The defendant has a conviction for leaving the scene of an accident with property damage in 2019, two convictions for driving with a license that’s suspended in 2018, grand theft in 2013, driving with a license suspended conviction in 2013, possession of cannabis conviction in 2009, and leaving the scene of an accident in 2006,” the prosecutor said.

Orlando’s Mexican consulate is also working to support the victims’ families as well as the hospital where many of the injured workers were taken. 

Officials said all of the farm workers were Mexican nationals and in the country legally.

Howard was appointed a public defender and is scheduled to appear in court again in June.

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