Wrong-Way Driver Sentenced In Court for Fatal Crash



By: Sharon Aron Baron

On November 17, 2013 20 year-old Kayla Mendoza took the lives of Marisa Catronio and Kaitlyn Ferrante, both 21, when she drove the wrong way on the Sawgrass expressway through an exit ramp causing a head-on collision  killing them both.  Mendoza survived and today a judge sentenced her to 24 years and six years probation.

At Sentencing

At sentencing

The judge took into consideration her remorse and lack of criminal history and decided not to impose the maximum sentence of 30 years. He ordered a permanent license revocation as well.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, a toxicology report showed that Mendoza had a blood-alcohol level of .15 percent, nearly twice the legal limit of .08 percent, and traces of marijuana in her system when her car slammed into the car.

Court documents filed in a civil lawsuit against Mendoza show that she spent about $65 on alcohol before the crash, even though she was underage at the time.  Mendoza posted “2 drunk 2 care” on Twitter just hours before the crash.

Shortly after, while still grieving, her family created Marisa’s Way to make sure their lost lives led to greater highway safety. Marisa’s way, a a 501(c)(3) nonprofit focuses on creating more entrance ramp awareness, along with physical devices to alert wrong way drivers and has also provided local students with scholarships for creating ideas that can help save lives.

About Sharon Aron Baron

Sharon Aron Baron Sharon Aron Baron is the Editor of Talk Media and writer for Coral Springs Talk. CST was created in 2012 to provide News, Views and Entertainment for the residents of Coral Springs, Parkland and the rest of South Florida.


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  • EmeraldEyes1

    A very sad case for all concerned. Devastating to the 2 families who lost their girls and will never be whole again. Devastating to Kayla Mendoza, too, who figured she’d “be fine” while driving. As far as her family is concerned, her parents will never know complete joy and happiness again, while their “little girl” is in prison. Her sisters and brothers, if she has any, will always feel an emptiness, and her grandparents will have an ache in their hearts that will never leave them. They won’t live long enough to see her out of prison, either, most likely. Kaylas’ youth will be wasted in prison. By the time she gets out, she will be 44 years old—in early middle age. A terrible tragedy for all concerned, all because Kayla Mendoza chose to drink heavily and use marijuana and then thought she would be “OK’ to drive. A friend once said to me that young people make mistakes and bad choices because they don’t have the life experience yet to realize that they are not invincible, and they can make a choice that will alter their lives forever. This case illustrates all too clearly how this is so true.