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Suspect in day care crash had valid driver's license, despite recent hit-and-run

  • daycare-mug-internal.jpg

    April 10, 2014: This booking photo provided by the Orange County Sheriff's Office shows Robert Alex Corchado, 28, after he was arrested and placed in the Orange County Jail in Orlando, Fla. (AP/Orange County Sheriff's Office)

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     (MyFoxOrlando.com)

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     (MyFoxOrlando.com)

The Florida ex-con who caused another driver to crash into a daycare center, killing a child and injuring 14, was driving on a valid license despite a long criminal record that included a December hit-and-run charge.

While much of Robert Corchado's criminal history involves drug-related charges, the hit-and run charge in December, which included another charge of leaving the scene of an accident, raises questions about why he was legally behind the wheel of the Dodge Durango that struck a Toyota Solara convertible that then jumped a curb and smashed into the KinderCare building in Winter Park, killing 4-year-old Lily Quintus and injuring 14 others.

"Families are emotionally destroyed because of what he did," the girl's mother, Nicole Quintus, told The Associated Press.

Quintus said her daughter loved princesses, ranch dressing and "Star Wars," as well as the television series "Doctor Who." She was also a big fan of ranch dressing, putting it on pizza and even hot dogs. 

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

"She was beautiful and passionate and innocent," Nicole Quintus said. "And she deserved so much more."

Florida Highway Patrol spokesman John Lucas confirmed to FoxNews.com Friday that Corchado, who turned himself in Thursday after going on the lam in a rental car, was driving on a valid license when he allegedly caused the crash. Also Friday, an Orlando judge ordered Corchado held in jail throughout the weekend.

The judge will hear arguments on whether Corchado can be released on bond. Bail was initially set for $100,000, but a prosecutor told the judge that Corchado is a flight risk and that he should be held without bond.

Corchado, 28, who has been arrested eight times since 2000, was charged with leaving the scene of a deadly accident. He surrendered Thursday after the dead child's mother pleaded for him to turn himself in.

"Families are emotionally destroyed because of what he did."

- Nicole Quintus, victim's mother

Eight patients, including Lily, were initially taken to Arnold Palmer Children's Hospital in Orlando. Three had been discharged as of Friday morning. The remaining victims were taken to other nearby hospitals and no updates on their conditions were available early Friday.

The driver of the convertible, identified as 61-year-old Albert Dean Campbell, was not injured. The Durango left the scene, but was located almost two hours later after it had been abandoned at a home in Winter Park.

"As a grandfather of three young children, I can't imagine losing such a precious life at such a young age," Gov. Rick Scott said in a statement Wednesday. "Today's hit-and-run was an act of cowardice, and members of the Florida Highway Patrol are working closely with local law enforcement to bring those who caused this crash to justice."

Local television footage showed small children and infants in cribs taken outside on the day care's playground and several of the injured were carried out on stretchers.

Department of Corrections records indicate Corchado 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.

Click for the story at MyFoxOrlando.com.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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