MARION COUNTY, Fla. — Calling it a "massive traffic homicide investigation," the Florida Highway Patrol said eight people died and at least 40 people were injured in a migrant bus crash in Marion County early Tuesday morning. 

What You Need To Know

  • Eight people died and at least 40 people were injured in a migrant bus crash in Marion County

  • FHP arrested Bryan Maclean Howard, who was identified as the driver of a truck that crashed into the bus 

  • Several victims are still being treated

The Florida Highway Patrol said a 2010 International Bus was traveling west on State Road 40 when it collided with an eastbound 2001 Ford Ranger Truck around 6:30 a.m., approximately 500 feet west of SW 148 Court.

The driver of the truck, identified by FHP as Bryan Maclean Howard, was arrested and charged on eight counts of DUI manslaughter.

The bus was transporting 53 migrant workers to a nearby farm, officials said. FHP is still working to determine what caused the collision, which sent the bus off the roadway and through a fence, before it overturned into what residents say is a horse farm pasture. 

During a news conference Tuesday afternoon, FHP officials said the investigation into the crash will be lengthy. They also said more migrant workers are in Marion County this time of year, due to the size of its agricultural industry. 

Calling them "hardworking individuals," Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods said he believes everyone on the bus was in the county legally.

Woods said more than 30 ambulances, plus a Marion County School bus, were used to take victims to area hospitals.

HCA Florida Ocala Hospital is treating seven patients in critical condition and two that are said to be "stable." One other person is being treated at HCA Florida West Marion Hospital.

AdventHealth Ocala was treating over a dozen patients, all of which have been discharged or transferred.

During Tuesday's news conference, officials noted that they are still working to notify victims' next of kin. Woods said his heart goes out to the families of the victims. 

"This is the death you do not expect," he said. "I pray that the good Lord gives them whatever peace that He can to get them through this."

State Road 40 between U.S. 41 and West County Road 328 between Ocala and Dunnellon has reopened as of late Tuesday.