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Leon County Aids Migrant Farmworkers After Bus Crash

Florida Memory

Leon County officials and the Haitian community are rushing to aid the victims of this weekend’s bus crash in Wakulla.

Early Saturday morning, a bus carrying around thirty-five Haitian migrant farmworkers collided with a semi-truck on Woodville Highway. The group was returning to Belle Glade in Palm Beach County after months of working in South Georgia corn fields. Twenty-five were injured and four died at the scene, including the driver of the semi-truck, and a child. Many of the farmworkers don’t speak English, and lost personal documents and cell phones in the crash. Matt Cavell with Leon County is amazed at the response of the Haitian community.

“We organized the Creole speakers and assigned people exiting from the hospitals a liaison. Someone who could be with them when they are discharged from Tallahassee Memorial Healthcare of Capital Regional Medical Center. So that they would have a native language speaker with them, who knew English, who could pick them up at the hospital, take them to get their prescription filled, and then take them to a local area hotel,” he said.

The Salvation Army transported thirteen people to Belle Glade on Sunday, but nineteen remain in area hospitals. Leon County is paying for hotel rooms, new cell phones and transportation for the victims as they are released. The costs are being reimbursed through private donations. Officials are also linking the farmworkers to social services in Palm Beach County, to help them transition when they do return home.

As a Tallahassee native, Kate Payne grew up listening to WFSU. She loves being part of a station that had such an impact on her. Kate is a graduate of the Florida State University College of Motion Picture Arts. With a background in documentary and narrative filmmaking, Kate has a broad range of multimedia experience. When she’s not working, you can find her rock climbing, cooking or hanging out with her cat.