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The driver admitted to using cannabis oil and taking medication before the Florida crash that resulted in the deaths of 8 Mexican workers

Emergency workers on the scene (Via Shane West/Shutterstock)

A man known for reckless driving told investigators he had used marijuana oil and prescription drugs hours before he swerved into a bus, causing a crash that killed eight Mexican farmworkers and injured many others, according to a recently released arrest report.

Bryan Maclean Howard, 41, pleaded not guilty to charges of driving under the influence and manslaughter. He remains in jail without bond following the incident on Tuesday. The Florida Highway Patrol reported that Howard’s 2001 Ford pickup crossed the center line on a two-lane road and collided with the bus, causing it to leave the road, hit a tree, and overturn.

The farmworkers, who were headed to Cannon Farms in Dunnellon, a rural area known for its horse farms, rolling hills, and agriculture, were traveling early in the morning to harvest watermelon. Dunnellon is about 80 miles northwest of Orlando in Marion County, north-central Florida.

In response to the tragedy, the Mexican consulate in Orlando has been assisting the victims, with some being cared for at a hotel in Gainesville.

A bus being removed after collision (Via Shane West/Shutterstock)

Many injured workers were taken to AdventHealth Ocala Hospital.

Juan Sabines, the Mexican consul in Orlando, stated in interviews with Spanish-language media that seven workers, including three in critical condition, were still hospitalized as of Wednesday afternoon. Sabines also mentioned that efforts were underway to notify the families of the eight workers who lost their lives in the accident.

Additionally, Sabines reported that inspectors from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division were conducting investigations at the farm where the workers were employed. He encouraged workers to contact the Occupational Safety and Health Administration anonymously if they had any concerns about their employer. The Department of Labor did not respond to requests for comment from The Associated Press.

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