Florida day care center crash: Suspect surrenders to authorities

Photo provided by Orange County Jail
Friday, April 11, 2014 - 7:00am

The man who police say fled the scene after his SUV hit a car, sending it into a Winter Park day care center and killing a 4-year-old girl, turned himself in Thursday, Florida Highway Patrol spokeswoman Maj. Cindy Williams said.

Robert Alex Corchado, who Williams earlier said had gang ties as well as numerous drug arrests, surrendered at the Orange County jail, according to a tweet from the sheriff department.

A warrant for his arrest had been issued early Thursday after, authorities say, Corchado drove a Dodge Durango that hit a car, sending it into a crowded KinderCare. One girl died from injuries sustained in the accident and 13 other children were injured, as was one adult.

Corchado fled the scene and ditched his Dodge Durango before renting another SUV, Williams said earlier. The warrant alleges Corchado left the scene of an accident "with death."

Bond was set at $100,000, according to an arrest affidavit.

Williams said Corchado, 28, rented a black Mazda CX-5 on Wednesday afternoon after fleeing the accident.

Corchado's Dodge Durango was found abandoned a few hours after the crash.

Little girl 'deserved so much more'

Lily Quintus, 4, was among 50 children at a KinderCare in Winter Park when a car slammed through a wall. She died later at a hospital.

Her mother, Nicole Quintus, is devastated, the New York Daily News reported.

"I have no idea how I'm supposed to survive after this. I don't know how I'm supposed to go back to a daily routine. I'm wandering about, lost," she told the paper.

Nicole Quintus called her daughter "painfully beautiful" and said, "She was incredible and she deserved so much more."

Lily's 7-year-old brother aspires to be an engineer and is building a time machine out of his Erector set so he can bring his sister back, the Daily News reported.

Lily's father is a paramedic with the Groveland Fire Department and one of his co-workers set up a page so people could donate funds for medical and funeral expenses. As of Thursday night, people had given more than $33,000.

Three released from hospitals

Two children and a teacher were released from hospitals on Thursday, according to a statement from Knowledge Universe, which operates KinderCare.

At Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children in Orlando, where eight of the victims were taken Wednesday, five children remained hospitalized, including one in critical condition. Two were listed in serious condition, one was fair and one was in good condition.

The hospital said two patients were discharged Thursday, but it was unclear whether they were among the people cited in the KinderCare release.

After the incident, which occurred about 3 p.m. on Wedesday, 12 children and one adult were taken to four hospitals, said John Mulhall, a spokesman for Orange County Fire Rescue. Two other people were treated at the scene.

One child was pinned by the car that was knocked into the day care through a front wall.

Teachers gave kids CPR

"It was tragic," Jeezy Jenkins told CNN affiliate WKMG. He was working on a nearby roof when the accident happened.

"It was just kids on the ground and there was teachers giving CPR. It was horrible. I've never seen nothing like that before, and I hope I never have to see something like that again."

The driver of the car that was forced into the day care center wasn't injured. He waited at the scene as workers loaded his car onto a tow truck.

"We are heartbroken that several of the children in our care and an adult were injured in an accident today," KinderCare said in a prepared statement. "We are pulling for those who have been injured to quickly recover from this tragic accident."

Highway Patrol spokeswoman Sgt. Kim Monte said a telephone tip helped authorities find the missing Durango.

CNN's Suzanne Presto and Carma Hassan contributed to this report.

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