Friday, June 22, 2018
Public safety

Man suspected in Winter Park day care crash is in custody

WINTER PARK — A manhunt across Florida ended Thursday with the surrender of a driver blamed in a deadly crash at a day care that injured 14 and killed a 4-year-old girl who was sitting in a classroom awaiting her afternoon snack.

Robert Alex Corchado turned himself in and was charged with leaving the scene of a deadly accident almost exactly 24 hours after the KinderCare facility in Winter Park was torn open in the wreck.

He was being held on $100,000 bond, the Orange County Corrections Department said. His attorney confirmed his client turned himself in but refused further comment.

"He had nowhere to go," said Florida Highway Patrol Trooper Wanda Diaz.

Police say Corchado, 28, of Winter Park crashed his Dodge Durango into a convertible, which in turn smashed into the KinderCare building.

Authorities pleaded for the suspect to give up, even as they blanketed the state searching for him. Nicole Quintus, whose daughter, Lily, was killed, joined the pleas.

"Families are emotionally destroyed because of what he did," she said.

The mother softly sobbed as she spoke of her daughter. She said Lily loved princesses, Star Wars, the TV series Doctor Who and ranch dressing on seemingly everything she ate — even pizza and hot dogs.

Lily was sitting at a table waiting for her afternoon snack when the car crashed into the building, and Nicole Quintus said a teacher called her soon after, screaming but unable to say what happened.

"One minute everything was normal and the next there was an explosion and smoke and screams," she said.

The girl's 7-year-old brother is an aspiring engineer who wants to design a time machine to bring Lily back, the mother added.

"She was beautiful and passionate and innocent," the mother said, "and she deserved so much more."

Lily was on the minds of those who turned up at the day care, where the gaping hole was boarded up with plywood and where a cluster of stuffed animals, flowers and candles were left in memoriam.

Corchado has been arrested eight times since 2000.

Department of Corrections records show he served prison time for trafficking cocaine and extortion. He most recently was arrested in December on a misdemeanor charge of leaving the scene of a crash involving damage, a felony charge of selling narcotics, and felony marijuana possession. He was released on more than $10,000 bond and pleaded not guilty to the charges. He was due back in court in May.

Florida Highway Patrol Maj. Cindy Williams said Corchado was linked with the Latin Kings gang and could have been aided by other members.

Ten people remain hospitalized from the crash, including one child who remains in critical condition and two others who are listed in serious condition, according to the patrol.

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