Eight farm workers killed in bus crash, dozens injured

MARION COUNTY, FL – A fatal collision occurred Tuesday morning in Marion County, Florida, leaving eight people dead and dozens injured. The Florida Highway Patrol reported that the fatal accident occurred on West Highway 40 at approximately 6:35 a.m.

The involved vehicles were a 2010 International bus transporting 53 farm laborers and a Ford Ranger truck. The two vehicles sideswiped each other, prompting the bus to veer off the road and crash into a fence before flipping over. The collision resulted in the death of eight farm workers and injured approximately 40, said the Florida Highway Patrol. Among the injured, Marion County Fire Rescue reported eight in critical condition.

Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods identified the bus passengers as migrant workers employed by the local Florida farming industry. Woods added that the workers were legally in the country and that they were diligent individuals.

The incident’s seriousness could potentially increase the current death toll, according to Lt. Pat Riordan, public affairs officer of the Florida Highway Patrol, who also added that the driver of the Ford pickup was among the seriously injured.

Sheriff Woods reported that more than 30 ambulances responded to the scene to assist in rescuing victims from the overturned bus. Additionally, a spokesperson for Marion County Public Schools reported that a school bus was dispatched to help transport surviving passengers to medical facilities.

AdventHealth Ocala provided treatment to 16 victims of the crash, twelve in the main emergency department, and four others at AdventHealth Timber Ridge.

The crash is currently under investigation as a traffic homicide, with the Florida Highway Patrol estimating a six-month timeline for conclusion. In the meantime, the bus is undergoing inspection.

Cannon Farms in Dunnellon was reported as the destination for the workers at the time of the accident. On its Facebook page, the farm mentioned the accident and asked for prayers for the affected families, also announcing their closure for the day.