8 people have died and 45 have been hospitalized in Ocala

Eight people were killed and dozens were hospitalized after a bus crashed on SR-40 in Ocala on Tuesday, the Florida Highway Patrol said. According to the FHP, eight of them were seriously injured. In total, the FHP has reported 53 casualties in this massive accident.” There is a high probability that it could be beyond the eight deaths,” FHP’s Lt. Patrick Riordan said at a press conference. Related: What we know about Ocala bus crash that killed 8, according to FHP A 2010 International bus carrying 53 farm workers to Cannon Farms in Dunnellon crashed at 6:37 a.m. on SR-40 west of SW 148 Ct. For reasons to be determined, the bus and a Ford Ranger truck collided “sideways,” the FHP said. After the collision, the bus left the road, went through a fence, struck a tree and overturned, FHP said. Riordan said the truck, which was traveling eastbound on SR-40, drifted toward the center line and collided with the westbound bus. Officials promised their investigation would be relentless, but with that, Riordan said, time will come. Point is, we’re conducting a major traffic homicide investigation,” Riordan said. “It’s going to be a very long and thorough investigation. I can tell you it will be at least six months before we truly conclude what happened here today.” Just before 5 p.m. Tuesday, the FHP announced the arrest of the truck’s driver, Brian McLean Howard. He faces eight counts of DUI manslaughter, the FHP said. RELATED: Marion County Deadly The man accused of the bus crash, who has been convicted 20 times since 2003, said he believed the victims were migrant farm workers, which are common in the district at this time of year, and dismissed questions about their legal status. It’s absolutely not their fault they’re here,” Woods said. On social media, Cannon Farms said it would be closed today. “Please join us in prayer for the families and loved ones involved in this tragic accident,” said Cannon Farms. Related: Farm worker-led shutdown in honor .said to WESH 2. “Our prayers are with all of the victims of this morning’s bus accident at AdventHealth. We are providing exceptional medical care to those injured Our immediate priority is to provide support as well. Love.” HCA Florida West Marion Hospital is also taking patients from the crash and told WESH 2 five people are now in the emergency room. SR-40 is closed in both directions, but the Florida Department of Transportation said the road is now open to traffic. Marion County Public Schools said their One of the school buses was not involved in the accident, but the Florida Farmers Association has set up a verified GoFundMe to support the victims and their families. Family members of those who died or were injured in the accident can click here. Support and emotional support by contacting HELP or 877-ASK-MADD. These support lines are staffed 24 hours a day and have bilingual support staff online for Spanish-speaking people.

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Eight people were killed and dozens were hospitalized after a bus crashed on SR-40 in Ocala on Tuesday, the Florida Highway Patrol said.

According to the FHP, eight of them were seriously injured. In total, FHP reported 53 patients in this massive accident.

“The high probability is that it could be beyond eight deaths,” Lt. Patrick Riordan with the FHP told a news conference.

Related: What we know about the Ocala bus crash that killed 8 people

According to FHP, a 2010 International bus carrying 53 farm workers to Cannon Farms in Dunnellon crashed at 6:37 a.m. on SR-40 west of SW 148 Ct.

For reasons to be determined, the bus and a Ford Ranger truck collided “sideways,” the FHP said. After the collision, the bus left the road, went through a fence, struck a tree and overturned, FHP said.

Riordan said the truck, which was traveling eastbound on SR-40, veered toward the center line and collided with the westbound bus.

Officials have promised their investigation will be relentless, but with that, comes the time, Riordan said.

“At this point, we’re conducting a major traffic homicide investigation,” Riordan said. “This is going to be a very long and thorough investigation. I can tell you that it will be at least six months before we truly conclude what happened here today.”

The FHP announced the arrest of the driver of the truck, Brian McLean Howard, just before 5 p.m. Tuesday. He faces eight counts of DUI manslaughter, FHP reported.

Related: Man accused of fatal Marion County bus crash has 20 convictions since 2003

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Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods said he believed the victims were migrant farm workers, which is common for the county this time of year, and dismissed questions about their legal status.

“They’re hard workers. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with them being here,” Woods said.

On social media, Cannon Farms said it would be closing today.

“Please pray with us for the families and loved ones involved in this tragic accident,” Cannon Farms said.

Related: The farm, which was run by workers, is closed as a mark of respect for the slain workers

Advent Health is currently treating one patient from the crash, the hospital told WESH 2. Several other patients were treated at AdventHealth and later released.

“Our prayers are with all the victims of this morning’s tragic bus accident in Ocala,” AdventHealth said in a statement to WESH 2. “Our immediate priority is to provide exceptional medical care to the injured and provide compassionate support to our patients and their loved ones.”

HCA Florida West Marion Hospital is also taking patients from the crash and told WESH 2 five people are now in the emergency room.

SR-40 was closed in both directions, but the Florida Department of Transportation said the road has now reopened to traffic.

Marion County Public Schools says one of its school buses was not involved in the crash, but the victims were taken to the hospital.

The Farmworkers Union of Florida has set up a verified GoFundMe to support victims of the incident and their families.

Those who wish to donate can do so Click here.

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Family members of loved ones killed or injured in the Ocala crash can access financial assistance and emotional support by contacting 877-MADD-HELP or 877-ASK-MADD.

Support lines are staffed 24 hours a day and bilingual support staff are available online for Spanish-speaking populations.

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