Driver sought in fatal day care crash in custody, FHP says

Published On: Apr 10 2014 05:18:38 PM EDT
Updated On: Apr 10 2014 08:27:24 PM EDT

The man troopers say caused a car crash into a Winter Park day care, killing a 4-year-old girl and injuring 14 others, is in custody.

WINTER PARK, Fla. -

The man troopers say caused a car crash into an Orlando-area day care, killing a 4-year-old girl and injuring 14 others, is in custody.

Troopers said Robert Alex Corchado, 28, turned himself into the Orange County Jail at 4:12 p.m. Thursday, a day after the crash at the KinderCare Learning Center at 4035 Goldenrod Road. Corchado was being booked into the Orange County Jail on Thursday afternoon.

Troopers said Corchado was driving a Dodge Durango that hit a Toyota Solara near the day care. The 61-year-old driver of the Solara lost control of his vehicle and slammed into the building, which was holding more than 50 children and staff members.

Troopers said Corchado fled the scene, and the FHP later issued an arrest warrant for him on charges of leaving the scene involving death and leaving the scene involving serious bodily injuries. It's not clear if the driver of the Solara will face charges in the crash.

The Durango was found abandoned Wednesday afternoon at a home off Aloma Avenue.  Investigators said, however, that Corchado rented a black Mazda SUV with the Florida tag CHR-Q41 from Enterprise on Semoran Boulevard in Winter Park.

Records show Corchado, who FHP says has ties with the Latin Kings gang, was arrested in 2013 on charges of careless driving, hit-and-run and leaving the scene of property damage. He is currently awaiting trial on those charges.

In December, according to authorities, Corchado also left the scene of a crash.  Officials said heroin, cocaine and marijuana were found in his possession, and investigators believe he was going to sell the drugs. Previously, he spent three years in prison on drug charges, and he was arrested at the age of 18 on charges of extortion.

FHP said early Thursday that 4-year-old Lily Quintus was killed in the crash. Orange County Fire Rescue said 14 others were injured in the crash, including two who were treated at the scene.  Thursday morning, Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children said one patient was in critical condition, two were in serious condition, one was listed in fair condition, one was in good condition and two had been discharged.

Some victims, including children, were taken to other hospitals, including Florida Hospital Orlando.

"My condolences and prayers for those parents because I can't imagine how they are feeling right now.  I was luckily blessed that my son is OK, but I know that there are some children that are not and it breaks my heart," said Evette Riveria, whose son attends KinderCare.

A GoFundMe.com page was created for the Quintus family to help with funeral and medical expenses. FHP said Lily died at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

"We are asking for help for one of our brothers. Unfortunately he lost his youngest daughter in a terrible vehicle accident that occurred yesterday 4/9/2014. This story is generating national attention, and we are hoping that we may be able to make a minor difference in this families time of need. They are going to be going through the most difficult time in their lives and will need all the support that can be offered. Thank you for your attention, Groveland Fire Rescue."

At a news conference Wednesday, Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs called the crash "an absolute tragedy and disaster."

Jeezy Jenkins says that he was repairing the roof of the Marathon gas station next to the day care when he heard screeching tires. He said he looked up and saw the crash, and a silver Dodge Durango speeding away.

Jenkins said he jumped off the roof to see if he could help. When he looked inside the day care, he says he saw several children, seriously injured, lying on the ground.

"There was other ones that weren't moving at all, and the teachers were giving them CPR and stuff like that," he said.

KinderCare said it would assist parents in finding a day care for their children in the coming days while officials conduct an investigation and the building is repaired.

Winter Park is a suburb of Orlando.

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