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One dead, 14 hurt when SUV pushes car into Florida day care center

By Steve Almasy and John Couwels, CNN
updated 12:23 AM EDT, Thu April 10, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Police believe fleeing man rented a vehicle after ditching his SUV
  • One little girl has died, highway patrol spokeswoman says
  • 12 children, 1 adult are taken to hospitals
  • Police are looking for a man in connection with the incident

Winter Park, Florida (CNN) -- Florida authorities searched early Thursday for a man after a Dodge Durango pushed a car into a day care center, fatally injuring one girl and hurting 14 children.

The child died at Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children in Orlando, Florida Highway Patrol spokeswoman Trooper Wanda Diaz said.

The driver of the Durango remained missing after the SUV was found three hours later.

Highway Patrol spokeswoman Sgt. Kim Monte said authorities believe Robert Corchado was trying to flee the Orlando area. He is in his mid- to late 20s.

Corchado allegedly rented an SUV from a Winter Park car rental company on Wednesday evening, CNN affiliate WESH reported, citing law enforcement officials.

Earlier, officials told CNN that they had a tip that the driver of the Durango was at Orlando International Airport.

Twelve children and one adult were transported to four nearby hospitals, said John Mulhall, a spokesman for Orange County Fire Rescue. Two other people were treated on scene, but Mulhall didn't disclose whether they were children or adults.

Diaz earlier said the injuries in the 3 p.m. incident ranged from critical to minor. One child was pinned by the car, a Toyota Camry Solara convertible.

"It was tragic," Jeezy Jenkins told CNN affiliate WKMG. He was working on a nearby roof when the accident happened.

"It was just kids on the ground and there was teachers giving CPR. It was horrible. I've never seen nothing like that before and I hope I never have to see something like that again."

The driver of the car that was forced into the day care center wasn't injured. He waited at the scene as workers loaded his car onto a tow truck.

"We are heartbroken that several of the children in our care and an adult were injured in an accident today," KinderCare said in a statement. "We are pulling for those who have been injured to quickly recover from this tragic accident."

There were about 50 children in the day care at the time of the incident.

Monte said it was a telephone tip that helped locate the missing Durango.

Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs earlier said the missing driver would be located.

"Together, we will find whoever is responsible for this, and those families need to know that this whole community is behind them," she told reporters.

CNN's Ed Payne, Suzanne Presto and Carma Hassan contributed to this report.

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