Driver in Fatal Florida Bus Crash Admits Marijuana Use Before Incident

Bryan Maclean Howard, the driver accused of causing a fatal bus crash in Florida, admitted to authorities that he had smoked marijuana oil the night before the tragic incident. Howard faces eight counts of driving under the influence manslaughter after his pickup truck collided with a bus, resulting in the deaths of at least eight people.

The crash occurred early Tuesday morning on a Florida highway, where Howard’s truck veered toward the center line, colliding with the oncoming bus. The impact caused the bus to overturn and strike two fences on the outskirts of Dunnellon, leaving around 40 individuals injured, some critically.

According to an arrest report from the Florida Highway Patrol, Howard confessed to smoking marijuana oil with a friend who possessed a medical marijuana card the previous night. He also disclosed taking prescription medications before going to bed.

On the day of the crash, Howard left his parents’ house around 6:30 a.m. to seek treatment for a chipped vertebrae at a methadone clinic in Ocala, Florida. He claimed to have been driving cautiously due to a previous accident three days earlier, where he crashed his mother’s car into a tree while trying to avoid an animal.

Despite Howard’s assertion that he couldn’t recall the specifics of the crash, a witness reported seeing his truck “failing to maintain its lane of travel” earlier that morning. During the investigation, Howard exhibited physical signs of impairment, including bloodshot and watery eyes, as well as slurred speech.

Remarkably, a breath test conducted after Howard’s arrest found no presence of alcohol in his system. However, he faces charges of DUI manslaughter, and during a court appearance, he pleaded not guilty and requested a public defender due to financial constraints.

The tragic crash claimed the lives of six individuals, with two others identified as Hispanic males. Among the deceased were farmworkers en route to a watermelon field about 80 miles northwest of Orlando. The incident has sparked outrage and condemnation, with Ernesto Ruiz of the Farmworker Association of Florida denouncing Howard’s actions as “reckless irresponsibility.”

The victims’ families are left grappling with the devastating consequences of a preventable tragedy, highlighting the need for greater accountability and safety measures on the roads, especially for vulnerable populations like agricultural workers.

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