Girl dies after car rams into Florida day-care center

WINTER PARK, Fla. — A car smashed into an Orlando-area day-care center after being struck by an SUV, killing a girl and injuring 14 others, authorities said Wednesday. At least a dozen children were among the injured.

A Dodge Durango hit a Toyota Solara convertible, which went out of control, jumped a curb and smashed into the day-care center, Florida Highway Patrol spokesman Wanda Diaz said. The Toyota broke through the wall and into the building, she said. Its driver was unhurt.

The Durango left the scene but was found almost two hours later, abandoned at a home.

The highway patrol says it is looking for Robert Corchado, 26, who has been arrested eight times since 2000, according to Florida Department of Law Enforcement records. Troopers say he was the driver of the Durango, but wouldn't say how they had established that. Troopers said Corchado might be trying to leave the area, and troopers and deputies headed to Orlando International Airport to look for him.

After the crash, television footage showed small children and infants in cribs taken outside to the day-care center's playground. Several were carried out on stretchers.

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 Department.

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

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

Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs called the crash an "absolute tragedy and disaster."

Copyright © 2017, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World