Judge says driver of bus that killed 8 farm workers in Florida crashed 3 days earlier

A Florida judge on Wednesday ruled that a truck that struck a bus carrying farm workers, killing eight people, could be found dead just three days after another crash.

Brian McLean Howard, 40, was ordered held without bail more than 24 hours after the crash, leaving him facing eight counts of driving under the influence-manslaughter.

In jailing Howard until his next court appearance on June 18, Marion County Judge Leanne McKay-Barnes said the suspect “had been in an auto accident at least three days prior to this accident.”

“Given your driving history and your history prior to leaving the scene of the accident, they had no choice but to remand Howard in custody,” Mackay-Barnes said.

In an arrest report obtained by NBC News affiliate WESH 2 in Orlando, troopers said Howard told them after Tuesday's crash that he was “driving very carefully” because he had been in a crash three days earlier. In that crash, troopers say he told them he “wrapped his mom's car around a tree.”

The deaths included 40 other people hospitalized Tuesday — eight of them in critical condition — following the early-morning crash in Marion County, about 80 miles north of Orlando.

The Mexican Foreign Secretary said all eight killed were Mexican and all had temporary H-2A visas for agricultural workers. announced on x Tuesday late night. The bus full of workers, carrying about 50 people, was headed toward family-owned Canon Farms in Dunnellon, WESH reported, citing the Highway Patrol.

During the brief hearing Wednesday, Howard was wearing a prison smock with a bandage wrapped around his head. He held his shoulder or hand during Wednesday's proceedings.

Mackey-Barnes granted Howard's request for a public defender, telling the judge that he makes $1,200 a month doing occasional construction work and only has $100 in the bank.

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