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The families of victims from the bus crash involving Mexican farmworkers grieve over the loss of their family members

Authorities work at at the accident scene (Via Matt Brown/Shutterstock)

In San Miguel Almolonga, a rural farming community in Mexico, a family mourned the loss of their father who had come to Florida on a temporary visa to support them.

Yamilet Pérez Ríos, 14, tearfully described how her father, Manuel Pérez Ríos, had left just a week ago seeking a better life for their family, only to tragically lose his life in a bus crash north of Orlando, Florida.

“He went to find a better life for me and my mother, and now they say my dad is gone,” she said. Manuel Pérez Ríos, aged 46, was one of eight farmworkers killed when Bryan Howard, 41, crossed into the path of their bus on State Road 40 early Tuesday morning.

Mourners pray in a memorial (Via Matt Brown/Shutterstock)

The bus, carrying 53 farmworkers to a watermelon farm, swerved off the road, hit a tree, and overturned. Howard, who failed sobriety tests, was arrested for DUI manslaughter.

The crash is currently under investigation by authorities. Howard pleaded not guilty to the charges on Wednesday morning. Court records show Howard has a history of traffic violations, including previous crashes and license suspensions, and a criminal record that includes drug-related offenses.

The bus crash also left many farmworkers injured. About 16 were taken to AdventHealth Ocala, where 14 were discharged the same day. Two others were transferred to different medical facilities, according to Lauren Rozyla, a hospital spokesperson.

The farmworkers had been hired by a Mexican-American farmer to work temporarily on a watermelon farm in Dunnellon, Florida.

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