Florida day-care hit-and-run suspect surrenders

After spending a day on the run, a man wanted in a Florida hit-and-run crash into a day-care facility, which left one girl dead and more than a dozen other people hurt, turned himself in, officials said Thursday.

Robert Alex Corchado, 28, surrendered at the Orange County, Fla., jail, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Office.

The announcement came not long after officials pleaded for the public's help in tracking down Corchado, who has a history of drug convictions and car crashes.

Officials said Corchado slammed his Dodge Durango into the back of another man's car on Wednesday. The other vehicle, a Toyota, then crashed into the KinderCare in Winter Park, Fla., as Corchado sped away in his vehicle, which he abandoned in exchange for a rented Mazda SUV, officials said.

Fifteen people were hurt -- most of them children -- and several children remained hospitalized Thursday afternoon, according to the Florida Highway Patrol

Florida Highway Patrol investigators said they didn't think the incident was road-rage-related or that Corchado knew the other driver, Albert Dean Campbell, 61. 

Investigators believe Campbell may have panicked or was unable to stop before traveling some distance and plowing into the day-care center. Authorities declined to rule out charges against him. 

Corchado was booked on a charge of leaving the scene of a fatal accident and was being held in lieu of a $100,000 bond, according to the Orange County Jail.

At a brief news conference after Corchado surrendered, Florida Highway Patrol Maj. Cindy Williams said the public and law enforcement had sent the message that the fugitive could not hide, "and I think he listened and he did the right thing."

Earlier in the afternoon, investigators had thought that Corchado may have been fleeing the state or lying low with gang associates.  When asked by reporters whether he might be armed, one Florida Highway Patrol official had cited Corchado's history of drug arrests and convictions and said, "I don’t know many drug dealers that don’t carry guns."

Lily Quintus, 4, was killed in the crash, and her mother had called for Corchado to turn himself in.

"Families are emotionally destroyed because of what he did," Nicole Quintus said in an interview with the Associated Press, during which she wept and spoke of a girl who loved princesses, "Star Wars," the TV series "Doctor Who" and ranch dressing just about every meal.

Xavier Velez, 5, was sitting inside the KinderCare when a Toyota crashed through the building and into his pre-kindergarten class.

Xavier — struck by a table — was among a dozen children hospitalized after the crash, some with critical or serious injuries. By Thursday, Xavier was back home, thinking about the terrifying crash and his classmates.

"I know that this is still on his mind because he'll stop, he'll pause and will say 'stupid car,'" Xavier's father, Ralph Velez, told the Orlando Sentinel.

Corchado has a history of hit-and-runs, according to criminal records obtained by the Sentinel. A few months after leaving prison in September 2012 for a drug conviction, he crashed into a car in Seminole County and kept driving before he was caught a few houses away with marijuana and other drugs in and around his vehicle, officials said. 

Just last week, Corchado was cited for careless driving after rear-ending a Buick at a red light in Orange County, according to the Sentinel.

At a Thursday news conference, officials declined to speak at length about Corchado's criminal background.

The Orlando Sentinel contributed to this report.

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