ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - She was "beautiful and passionate and innocent
" and "deserved so much more." Those were the words of the mother of a young girl who died after a car crashed into her day care center Wednesday.
Nicole Quintus, mother of 4-year-old Lily Quintus, said her daughter was sitting at a table waiting for her afternoon snack when
a car came crashing through the wall, according to the Associated Press, who spoke with Nicole Quintus on Thursday.
Lily died when a car crashed through the wall of the KinderCare on
Channel 9 learned Lily's father, Brian Quintus, is a Groveland firefighter and that his
co-workers adored the young girl. The family and community are now in mourning.
Florida Highway Patrol confirmed Thursday that suspect Robert Corchado turned himself in at the Orange County Jail. He was officially charged with leaving the scene of an accident involving death and had his bond set at $100,000.
and well into the evening Channel 9 has seen parents like David Garcia and Luz Garcia show up to the KinderCare facility and leave mementos at a memorial that has been growing since it was set up Wednesday evening.
News Conference: FHP announces arrest of Robert Corchado
The Garcias were outside the day care Thursday afternoon when Channel 9’s Tim Barber told them that Corchado was in jail.
“Our prayers have been answered,” David Garcia said.
“I’m just happy that they caught him, and I’m just so sorry that the families have to go through all of this pain,” said Luz Garcia.
Their daughter, Isabelle, was not in the day care Wednesday when the accident happened.
Ralph Velez and Christina Carde's 5-year-old son Xavier was sitting at a table when the car crashed into the building.
"My son could've not made it out of that. I'm very angry," said Velez.
Carde said Xavier was eating a snack when the car came barreling toward him.
"He described his friend getting hit in the stomach with the table," said Carde. "He said he saw his friends underneath the car. He said he saw one of his friends with blood on her face."
Amy Deberry's 5-year-old daughter Annabell, a friend of Lily's, had just been picked up from the day care when the accident happened.
"She doesn't fully understand, she knows that her friends have been hurt and one of them has gone to heaven," Amy Deberry said.
Carolina Fernandez's daughter should have been in that class but she said her 3-year-old told her she didn't want to go to school, so she kept her kids home.
Fernandez said she'll have to find a way to tell her daughter that her best friend has died.
"I don't think a 4-year-old kid can understand heaven," said Fernandez. "They don't understand that part. Even we don't understand."
Another parent told Channel 9 she, too, kept her daughter home from day care because the little girl didn't want to go that day.
"We pray for all those kids right now," the woman said.
Classmates like Maegan Welsh continue to visit the day care memorial. Maegan recently turned 5 but she still knows about the devastation at her day care.
"There was a big, stupid guy," Maegan said. "He took into my school and hit the wall and it goes boom. Hit my school."
Maegan drew a picture for her friends who are still recovering at Arnold Palmer Children's Hospital, so her mother, Crystal Welsh, took her back to the scene so they could lay it at the makeshift memorial.
Crystal Welsh said she picked her daughter up 30 minutes before the crash happened.
"When we heard the news we were devastated and our hearts just go out to the family and the teachers," she said. "It has affected us because we know the teachers, we see the kids every day, so we are just devastated by it."
Lilly's father is a firefighter and paramedic for the city of Groveland.
"Chief reached out to him today and had a conversation with him. He's just really tore up," said Josh Walsh, with Groveland Fire and Rescue.
The station set up a fund to help the family with funeral costs and in just a few hours it had far surpassed the amount they were hoping to get.
"That's great to see the support he's getting from the community after he's been here for five years supporting everybody else," said Walsh.
Eight of the injured children were taken to Arnold Palmer, where a 3-year-old girl remains in critical condition. A family friend told Barber the girl has brain and lung damage.
Two other children are in serious condition, one in fair condition and another in good condition. Two children have been released.
Hospital officials said Lily died at 6:45 p.m. Wednesday.
In all, 13 people were taken to local hospitals from the scene.
KinderCare released a new statement on Thursday, saying, "There are no words to express our sorrow, especially to the family who suffered the unimaginable loss of their young child."
Investigators said Corchado rear-ended another vehicle, causing it to strike the day care. Authorities said he then fled the scene.