Exclusive: Driver In Deadly November Crash Was Drunk
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South Florida Crime
CORAL SPRINGS (CBSMiami) – The 20-year-old woman who allegedly killed two Coral Springs women while driving the wrong way on a South Florida expressway last November was driving at nearly twice the legal blood alcohol limit, according to a Florida Highway Patrol search warrant filed Tuesday.
The warrant says Kayla Mendoza’s blood alcohol was .15 at nearly one hour after the fatal crash, when hospital workers took Mendoza’s blood. In Florida, .08 is the legal limit. The search warrant also says that toxicology results detected marijuana in Mendoza’s blood.
Kaitlyn Ferrante’s mother, Christine, says even though she suspected Mendoza was drinking the confirmation is devastating to hear.
“I’m very angry,” Christine told CBS 4’s Carey Codd. “Now I can actually voice my opinion and say how angry I am to the fact that she actually got behind that wheel drunk. I want her to know the pain that I am suffering.”
On twitter, Mendoza calls herself the pothead princess and we’ve seen videos on social media of Mendoza called Wake n Bake. The search warrant also says when Mendoza’s blood was tested by FHP a few hours after Mendoza arrived at the hospital they found marijuana in her system. For Gary Catronio it all adds up to choices Mendoza made that left he and his family without a loving daughter.
“It was her choice to get in the car and start it,” Catronio said. “It was her choice to drive it. It was her choice to drive without a valid driver’s license. The choices were all hers. They were the wrong choices.”
CBS 4 News first reported last month about an earlier search warrant that showed witnesses told FHP that Mendoza was drinking at a Tijuana Taxi Co. restaurant in Coral Springs with co-workers prior to the crash. The victim’s families have sued Tijuana Taxi Co., Mendoza and her boyfriend, Javier Reyes, who owns the car Mendoza was driving. These families say blood alcohol information is one more key piece of evidence as they seek to hold everyone accountable who played a role in this tragedy
“I want everybody who is involved in allowing her to drink — when she is not supposed to be drinking — to pay,” said Ferrante.
The owners of Tijuana Taxi Co., told CBS4 News that they have no knowledge that Mendoza was at the restaurant the night of November 16th before the deadly accident and that no one at the restaurant remembers Mendoza being there. The Tijuana Taxi Co. issued a statement saying they are cooperating with authorities investigating the case and that “all of our bartenders and servers undergo training with Responsible Vendors, a company that teaches the laws, liabilities and safety practices needed to work in an establishment where alcohol is served.”
The owners of the restaurant told CBS 4 News they do have surveillance cameras but the video gets recorded over every seven days and that the video from the night of November 16 is gone.
Multiple sources confirmed that Kayla Mendoza has been released from a physical rehabilitation facility and is recuperating from her injuries at home. No charges have been against her at this point but FHP says they continue to investigate the crash.
In our coverage of this story, CBS 4 News interviewed Javier Reyes — Mendoza’s boyfriend — who told CBS4 News the “2 drunk to 2 care” tweet was aimed at him.
“‘2 drunk 2 care’ about my feelings, about me being a little possessive, jealous,” Reyes said.
According to Reyes, Mendoza suffered two broken legs and severe head injuries in the crash.
Mendoza’s Twitter account, which has not been updated since the night of the crash, chronicles her marijuana and alcohol use, with photographs of joints and posts like “I break all my bongs cuz I have butter fingers” and “I really am so baked right now.”
In his interview with CBS4, Reyes said that “those are past and…that’s what we were trying to leave behind us and it catched [sic] up with us.”
The victims’ families are working together on the Marisa’s Way project to prevent wrong way crashes on our highways. Christine Ferrante said she plans to reach out to Mothers Against Drunk Driving to become an advocate for the group.