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One child dead, 14 injured in Florida day care crash

WINTER PARK, Fla. (AP) - A car smashed into an Orlando-area day care Wednesday, killing a girl and injuring 14 others, at least a dozen of them children, and authorities were searching for the driver of an SUV who they say started the crash, officials said.

A Toyota Solara convertible went out of control after it was struck by a Dodge Durango, jumped a curb and smashed into the day care, breaking through the wall and into the building, said Florida Highway Patrol spokesman Wanda Diaz. The convertible driver was not hurt.

The Durango left the scene but was located almost two hours later after it had been abandoned at a home. The highway patrol said it is looking for 26-year-old Robert Corchado, who has been arrested eight times since 2000, according to Florida Department of Law Enforcement records. Troopers said he was the driver of the Durango, but wouldn't say how they established that. Troopers said Corchado may be trying to leave the area, and troopers and deputies headed to Orlando International Airport to look for him.

Diaz said a girl died at Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, but she didn't have any more information on her. One person at the hospital was in critical condition and five others were in serious condition, said spokeswoman Katie Dagenais.

In all, 13 people were hospitalized and two others were treated at the scene, said John Mulhall, a spokesman for the Orange County Fire Rescue.

Several of the injured at the KinderCare building in Winter Park were reported to be in "very, very serious condition," Diaz said.

A man answered the phone for a number listed to Corchado and hung up when he was asked, "May I speak to Robert Corchado."

"Please keep a lookout and let us know if you see anything," said Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs said.

Corchado's most recent arrest was on a misdemeanor charge of leaving the scene of a crash involving damage, a felony charge of selling narcotics and felony marijuana possession last December. He was out on more than $10,000 bond and had pleaded not guilty to the charges. His defense attorney in that case, Jack Kaleita, didn't return a phone call or email after business hours.

Department of Corrections records show he has served prison time for trafficking cocaine and extortion.

Jacobs called the crash an "absolute tragedy and disaster."

Local television footage showed small children and infants in cribs taken outside on the day care's playground and several of the injured were carried out on stretchers.

The highway patrol reported that the injured were taken to five different hospitals.

Late Wednesday afternoon parents could be seen waiting to pick up their children, and then clutching them in their arms as they were escorted to their vehicles by authorities.

The day care's website says the center provides childcare and learning opportunities for children ages 6 weeks to 12 years old and has been in the community for over 25 years.

Join the discussion

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Anne April 10 2014 at 11:20 AM

please change that "Winter Haven" to Winter Park in your headline.

Flag Reply +4 rate up
ANGELIA April 10 2014 at 4:29 AM

You can't run from yourself i hope the guilt finally hits you and it drives you crazy jerk!

Flag Reply +2 rate up
PACRIMCO April 10 2014 at 4:49 AM

Bring him in, dead or alive.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
jacklvng1 April 10 2014 at 4:54 AM

That is a very low bond for all the trouble this SOB has caused. My heart goes out to all of those families involved. Karma will get him.....

Flag Reply +5 rate up
1 reply
Mitch jacklvng1 April 10 2014 at 5:07 AM

That bond was for PAST charges and seemed proper. Now when he is caught he will get no bail.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
dal April 10 2014 at 5:08 AM

He had been arrested "8" times since 2000, Gee wonder who is to blame the most here the jerk or the Florida court system that kept putting this loser back on the streets til he finally killed someone.

Flag Reply +8 rate up
Janie April 10 2014 at 5:18 AM

Sounds like somebody isn't keeping criminals behind bars. If they were...this wouldn't happen. Exactly how many arrests serve as a "pass" before his character is taken seriously?

Flag Reply +6 rate up
skooli April 10 2014 at 5:38 AM

Jail to repeat offenders is meaningless to them. You somehow have to be able to connect the punishment to the crime with them. You have to somehow touch their soul. Break their spirit.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
1 reply
hpycmpr155 skooli April 10 2014 at 5:57 AM

They have no soul......

Flag Reply +2 rate up
chrlbrw1122 April 10 2014 at 10:25 AM

This guy is an animal.. Need to find him, and punish him..

Flag Reply +5 rate up
Connie April 10 2014 at 10:18 AM

This was a horrible tragedy and my prayers go out to the parents of the 4 year old little girl's parents and for a speedy recovery for all the rest of the injured.

I am also infuriated that this man was on the streets and I hope he is punished to the full extent of the law, however, I find it horrifying that there are so many commenters using this story to rant against Illegal aliens (when there is nothing in the article but his name to warrant this), the legal system, Florida and our President! It wouldn't be so bad if they added one or two words of the comments were for those suffering!

God bless us all, because we apparently need all the help we can get!

Flag Reply +8 rate up
ajn44 April 10 2014 at 6:16 AM

With repeat offenders, either they are in jail or out committing more crimes. The public is safe only when those criminals are in jail. If any Judge doesn't give one of them the maximum sentence, the Judge is morally responsible for any crimes by that criminal while he is on the street.

Flag Reply +4 rate up
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