Man Charged in Marion County Farm Worker Bus Crash that Killed 8 People Being Held Without Bond | Florida DUI Wrongful Death Lawyers Whittel & Melton


A 41-year-old man from Marion County made an appearance in court on Wednesday to answer to charges related to the deaths of eight farm laborers who died in a bus accident on State Road 40 on Tuesday.

The man was charged with eight counts of DUI manslaughter after a 2001 Ford Ranger pickup truck he was reportedly driving crashed with a 2010 International bus carrying 53 migrant workers to a nearby farm shortly after 6:30 a.m.
According to the arrest report, the Ford pickup truck was headed east on State Road 40 while the bus was heading west.

According to the report, the Ranger entered the bus lane for unknown reasons. After colliding with the Ranger, the bus left the road, ran into two fences and a tree, and eventually flipped over.

According to officials, the crash claimed the lives of 8 people and injured at least 40 more.

Those who were killed range in age from 21-46 years old.

According to investigators, 7 of the 8 passengers killed in the incident had already been pronounced dead at the site and were still on the bus when they arrived shortly before 8:30 a.m. Details regarding the location and date of death of the eighth person were not provided.
When questioned by Florida Highway Patrol troopers at Advent Hospital in Ocala, the man reportedly explained that he was making his daily trip to the methadone clinic for a back injury.

The man was eventually arrested in connection with the crash and made his first appearance in court today.

According to a prosecutor for the case, the man apparently has a prior conviction from 2019 for leaving the scene of an accident with property damage; two convictions from 2018 for driving under the influence; convictions from 2013 for grand theft and driving under the influence; and a conviction from 2006 for leaving the scene of an accident.

The judge ordered him held without bond on the eight DUI manslaughter counts, but stated that if he is freed later, he will be prohibited from driving while the case is pending, and he will not be permitted to use or possess alcohol or controlled narcotics unless he has a legitimate prescription.
The man submitted a written plea of not guilty in the case on Wednesday morning, according to court documents.
His next court appearance is set for June 18 at 9 a.m.

Can You File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Against a Drunk Driver?

Drunk drivers cause serious vehicle accidents every day in the United States. In many cases, these accidents result in catastrophic deaths that permanently change the lives of surviving family members, including spouses, parents, and children. If you were injured by a drunk driver, you may be entitled to sue and recover compensation for your injuries and damages. If you lost a loved one in a drunk driving accident, you may be able to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit against the driver whose negligent acts caused your loved one’s death.

When pursuing a wrongful death claim stemming from a DUI-related accident, the responsible motorist may additionally face DUI manslaughter charges and a jail sentence, as this case shows. Depending on the specifics of the accident, you may eligible to file a wrongful death claim for pain and suffering, burial expenses, and other costs related to your loss.

Our Marion County Wrongful Death Lawyers at Whittel & Melton Can Help

Approximately 37 individuals every day, or one every 39 minutes, are killed in drunk driving accidents in the United States, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In 2022, 13,524 individuals died in alcohol-related traffic accidents. All these deaths were avoidable.

Please call us right away at 352-369-5334 to find out more about pursuing a wrongful death claim in Marion County, or anywhere else in the state after a drunk driving accident. In addition to helping seek justice for the death of your loved one, our Florida DUI Wrongful Death Lawyers are here to address any questions you may have from the start of your case through its resolution. Contact us 24/7 to request a free consultation.

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