Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Public safety

Car crashes into Winter Park day care, killing girl and injuring a dozen children

WINTER PARK — Joel Rosado sprinted to the scene as soon as he heard the screeches and saw a black Toyota Solara plow into the Goldenrod Road KinderCare, where a 4-year-old girl lay dying and 14 others were injured.

"We could see the teachers were, like, panicking," Rosado said. One was performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation on a child, and other children were bleeding — "laid out, not moving."

As the horror unfolded, panicked parents scrambled to the scene and authorities started an immediate manhunt for 28-year-old Robert Corchado, who they say was driving the Dodge Durango that rammed the Toyota toward the building.

The driver of the Durango didn't stop to see the carnage and chaos he left behind Wednesday afternoon.

It all started about 3 p.m.

The Solara, which had been turning into a driveway separating the day care center from Goldenrod Plaza professional offices, barreled through the parking lot, through a bush and into the KinderCare building, according to preliminary Florida Highway Patrol information.

Rosado, who was working on the roof of a nearby gas station, climbed down and ran to the center.

"It was bad," he said. The driver of the Solara, Albert Dean Campbell, 61, of Winter Park, emerged uninjured but visibly emotional, Rosado said.

Rescue crews descended on the day care, and news helicopters captured images of small children being removed from the day care on stretchers.

At last count, Orange County Fire Rescue spokesman John Mulhall said at least 15 people were hurt in the crash, 13 of whom were taken to hospitals. Twelve were children. The injured were rushed to four different hospitals.

Mulhall said they were being treated for a "variety of injuries, both severe and mild."

"This was a very intense scene, a very severe scene," Mulhall said.

Said FHP Trooper Wanda Diaz of the injuries: "Some are very, very serious."

After conflicting reports for most of the day, Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children confirmed the first death about 6:45 p.m. The girl's name was not released.

One other patient was in critical condition, and five more were in serious condition, the hospital said. Another patient had been released by Wednesday evening.

Meanwhile, the hunt was on for Corchado.

Authorities found the Durango at a house on Orange Avenue in Winter Park — its bumper left behind at the crash scene.

Neighbors who milled about as troopers investigated said the SUV was one of several vehicles routinely parked outside.

One nearby resident who did not want to be identified said the Durango drove up the street with a distinct clanking sound. A man wearing a red shirt and black hat parked it in the driveway and left a short while later, the neighbor said.

Four neighbors said vehicles come and go from the salmon-colored house at all hours, especially Thursday and Friday nights.

Comments
Deputies find parents who fled with newborn; 1-month-old is safe

Deputies find parents who fled with newborn; 1-month-old is safe

TAMPA — The 1-month-old infant reported missing Monday was found hours later about 300 miles north in Quincy, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office. Sage Cooper was reported to be unharmed, officials said, and Gadsden Cou...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Man faces first-degree murder charge in 2017 death of woman

Man faces first-degree murder charge in 2017 death of woman

TAMPA — A 68-year-old man was arrested Monday on a first-degree murder charge, according to Tampa police.Officers took James Leon Jackson into custody at 2712 W Nassau St. in west Tampa at about 1 p.m. A warrant for his arrest had been issued Friday....
Updated: 7 hours ago
In search for stolen car, the baby inside was the calmest one

In search for stolen car, the baby inside was the calmest one

ST. PETERSBURG — Photojournalist Michael Egger pulled into the apartment complex off 71st Avenue N on Monday afternoon, waiting for reporter Mark Douglas. The two WFLA-Ch. 8 journalists were looking for someone — they wouldn’t say who — when they fou...
Updated: 9 hours ago
‘Tase me, and you’ll see what happens,’ an American Airlines flier said. Police did - 10 times.

‘Tase me, and you’ll see what happens,’ an American Airlines flier said. Police did - 10 times.

Washington PostWhat began as a simple boarding dispute at Miami International Airport escalated into a tour de force of plane drama on Sunday as a belligerent passenger was repeatedly stunned by police, forcibly carried out of his seat, then driven t...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Deputies: Port Richey man admits molesting, attempting to rape 8-year-old girl

Deputies: Port Richey man admits molesting, attempting to rape 8-year-old girl

NEW PORT RICHEY — A 26-year-old man was arrested Friday on charges that he molested and attempted to rape an 8-year-old girl, according to the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office.Kaleb Harrah, 26, of Port Richey, faces charges of attempted sexual battery o...
Updated: 11 hours ago
FHP: Man struck, killed by SUV while walking in center of road

FHP: Man struck, killed by SUV while walking in center of road

TRINITY — A 49-year-old man was struck and killed early Monday morning by a sport-utility vehicle as he walked in the center of westbound Trinity Boulevard, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.Phillip Meadows, of New Port Richey, was wearing dark...
Published: 04/23/18
Did you see who hit panhandler near Selmon and drove away?

Did you see who hit panhandler near Selmon and drove away?

TAMPA — A man with a history of arrests for roadside soliciting has been found dead at the side of a road. Jess Paez, 51, was identified by Tampa police Monday as the victim of an apparent hit-and-run crash over the weekend. His body was found about ...
Published: 04/23/18
Police arrest suspect in Waffle House shooting

Police arrest suspect in Waffle House shooting

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The suspect in a quadruple homicide at a Nashville Waffle House was taken into custody Monday, police said. Authorities had mounted a massive manhunt for 29-year-old Travis Reinking, after the Sunday morning attacks. Authorities an...
Published: 04/23/18
Waffle House customer on why he rushed shooter: ‘He was going to have to work to kill me’

Waffle House customer on why he rushed shooter: ‘He was going to have to work to kill me’

Moments before the first shot, James Shaw Jr. was watching a Waffle House employee wash dishes, stacking them higher and higher. When the first shot was fired, Shaw thought the tower of plates had come crashing down, he would later recount at a news ...
Published: 04/23/18
Teen killed in Hernando crash was ‘always smiling and laughing’

Teen killed in Hernando crash was ‘always smiling and laughing’

WEEKI WACHEE — Seth Leathers was on his way to play basketball at his church when he was killed Wednesday in a car crash on U.S. 19 in Spring Hill, according to family friend Laurie Pike.Leathers, 16, was the passenger in a car driven by his friend G...
Published: 04/22/18
Updated: 04/23/18