Driver in fatal day care crash turns self in, FHP says
Updated On: Apr 11 2014 07:30:10 AM EDT
The man Florida Highway Patrol officials say caused a car to crash into a Winter Park day care, killing a 4-year-old girl and injuring 14 others, will appear before a judge on Friday.
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 booked into the Orange County Jail at 4:34 p.m. and was being held on $100,000 bond. He will have an initial court appearance at 8:30 a.m.
Troopers said they were elated that Corchado turned himself in.
"I really don't think he had anywhere to go. We were nationwide with his name. Everybody knew who he was and was looking for him. I think parents and anybody who had anything to do with this case -- it was a heartfelt case and they were upset," said FHP spokeswoman Wanda Diaz. "So he knew the best thing for him to do was to turn himself in because if anybody saw him they would turn him in."
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, officials said.
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.
[RELATED: Who is Robert Corchado?]
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 the Mazda Corchado rented is still being sought by troopers. Anyone who has information on the vehicle is asked to call FHP investigators at 407-737-2200.
"As we continue our investigation, our hearts and prayers go out to the families and the community involved with this tragedy," FHP said in a statement Thursday night. "FHP would like to extend a thank you to all the media, local and national, residents of central Florida and our law enforcement partners for helping us with this ongoing investigation. With your help we were able to bring the search for Corchado to a close."
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.
[RELATED: Family mourns death of 4-year-old]
Lily's mother, Nicole Quintus, spoke out about the moment she learned what had happened.
"It's not something you expect," Quintus said. "So you get a call from a teacher screaming that a car just ran through your daughter's school and you need to come there as soon as you can. It's not good."
On Friday morning, Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children said one patient remains in critical condition. Officials said three others were now listed in fair condition and three others 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.
"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," the GoFundMe page read.
At a news conference Wednesday, Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs called the crash "an absolute tragedy and disaster."
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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