Here’s what we know about the driver arrested in Marion bus crash that killed 8 farmworkers – WKMG News 6 & ClickOrlando

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OCALA, Fla. – Officials on Tuesday announced that Bryan Maclean Howard was arrested on accusations of driving under the influence in connection to the fatal wreck that killed eight people and injured about 40 others Tuesday morning in Marion County.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, Howard was the driver of the Ford Ranger that veered toward the center of the road and sideswiped the bus carrying farmworkers, which traveled off the road, through a fence, struck a tree and overturned.

Bryan Maclean Howard (Copyright 2024 by WKMG ClickOrlando – All rights reserved.)

Troopers said Howard faces eight counts of driving under the influence-manslaughter.

The deadly crash happened around 6:35 a.m. on S.R. 40 near SW 148 Court near Ocala.

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From 2006 until 2021, court records show that Howard has had several run-ins with the law, many of which involved driving-related offenses. They are as follows:

  • May 31, 2006 — Howard was cited for leaving the scene of a crash with an unattended vehicle or property. He pled guilty and was sentenced to 30 days in jail, though that sentence was later suspended. He also paid over $300 in court costs and fines.
  • Nov. 21, 2009 — Howard was arrested on charges of possessing cannabis and drug paraphernalia, and he pleaded “no contest.” In total, he served two days in jail and six months of probation.
  • April 18, 2013 — Howard was arrested on a charge of driving with a suspended/revoked license, and he pleaded “no contest.” Overall, he paid $325 in fines and court costs. However, Howard failed to comply with non-confinement conditions and was later sentenced to 30 days in jail.
  • July 4, 2013 — Howard was arrested on charges of stolen property and grand theft. He pled guilty to grand theft and was sentenced to 60 days in jail (minus the 56 days he already served) followed by two years of probation. However, he later violated his probation, which was then revoked. As such, he was sentenced to serve 240 days in jail (with credit for 124 days that were already served).
  • April 2, 2018 — Howard was arrested on a charge of careless driving, which involved a crash with $700 in damage but no injuries. He paid a $189 citation.
  • May 31, 2018 — Howard was arrested on a charge of driving with an expired license. He paid a $325 fine.
  • Oct. 10, 2018 — Howard was arrested on a charge of driving with a suspended/revoked license, which was his second such offense. He pled guilty, was sentenced to five days in jail, and paid $250 in fines and court costs.
  • Nov. 15, 2018 — Howard was arrested on a charge of driving with a suspended/revoked license. While this would be his third such offense, court records appear to list it as his second. He pled guilty on Feb. 8, 2019, though he served no jail time, as his 30-day sentence was deferred. He also paid $325 in fines.
  • Sept. 1, 2019 — Howard was arrested on a charge of leaving the scene of a crash with property damage, though there were no reported injuries. An arrest affidavit shows he struck a utility pole and left the scene. He pleaded “no contest” and served 12 days in jail, though he received 12 days credit for time served. In addition, he was sentenced to six months probation, 50 hours of community service and received $640 in fines.
  • Sept. 14, 2021 — Howard was arrested on a charge of driving with a suspended/revoked license, the latest in his string of such offenses. However, the prosecutor declined to file charges, though the prosecutor didn’t cite a reason.

Separately, Howard was sued in 2021 over a crash that reportedly happened on May 28, 2018, on Fort King Street in Ocala, which ended with another driver being hurt and having their car damaged.

Court records show that State Farm demanded $15,314 from Howard, and a judge entered a default judgment of $15,936 — plus interest. Howard paid $18,650 in July 2022.

Bryan Maclean Howard faces eight counts of DUI manslaughter in a Marion County bus crash. (Copyright 2024 by WKMG ClickOrlando – All rights reserved.)

Howard’s arrest report identifies six of the eight people who died in the wreck and further describes his condition after the crash.

Howard told troopers that he was on his way to a methadone clinic when the crash occurred, exiting the Ford afterward and having to be shown by bystanders what happened. He said he was hanging out with a friend the previous night, smoking marijuana oil that the friend had obtained via a medical marijuana card before taking his own prescribed medications — Klonopin, Lyrica and clonidine — and getting around five hours of sleep, the arrest report states.

Troopers followed up with Howard at the hospital; he performed a series of field sobriety tests that he largely failed, leading to his arrest on DUI charges, according to the report. Eight hours after the crash, Howard provided two breath samples that each registered a BAC of 0.00, the report states.

Howard was appointed a public defender at his first appearance in court Wednesday morning. The state listed his prior offenses and asked he be held without bond, to which a judge agreed. Howard’s arraignment has been scheduled for the morning of June 18.

Further charges are pending further investigation, according to the arrest report.


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