ORLANDO, FLA.: Officials said one child died and 14 others were injured Wednesday after a hit-and-run SUV crashed into a car, which then collided with a day care center in Winter Park, Fla.
Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children in Orlando confirmed the death about 6:45 p.m.
Another patient was in critical condition, and another five were in serious condition, the hospital said. Patients were also taken to three other hospitals, officials said.
Authorities located the sport utility vehicle in Winter Park, north of Orlando, and named a person of interest: Robert Corchado, who corrections records indicate is 28 years old.
Records show Corchado was sentenced to three years in prison in 2010 on cocaine trafficking charges stemming from an arrest in May 2009. He was released in September 2012.
Several television reports indicated that law enforcement personnel were at Corchado’s listed address on Wednesday evening.
Corchado was believed to be attempting to flee, possibly by catching a flight out of the area, the Florida Highway Patrol said.
According to FHP spokeswoman Sgt. Wanda Diaz, the crash began as a hit-and-run. A Dodge Durango crashed into another vehicle, forcing it into the day care center and causing the injuries, she said.
Officials said one child was pinned by the car.
There were more than 50 children inside the building when the crash happened, authorities said.
Joel Rosado, an Orlando roofer, said he was working on the roof of a nearby gas station when he heard a loud screech, then saw the crash.
The Durango hit a small, dark-colored car, he said, which barreled into the day care, driving well inside the building. The Durango then sped north, Rosado said.
The roofer ran to help, and said he saw the small car’s driver emerge from the wreckage. The man, who was middle-aged, said he was physically fine. However, he was visibly shaken and emotional about crashing into the building full of children.
Troopers said the car’s driver was not injured. The black, convertible-top Toyota Solara careened through the center’s parking lot, through a bush and into the left front of the building.
Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs, speaking at the scene, implored area residents to pray for the injured and their families.
The day care is one of 1,700 KinderCare Learning Centers operated in 39 states with about 40,000 employees by the Knowledge Learning Corporation based in Oregon.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.