CBS4 Exclusive: 911 Calls In Wrong Way Crash Reveal Warnings Before Deadly Accident
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South Florida Crime
CORAL SPRINGS (CBSMiami) – At least ten drivers called 911 in the early morning hours of November 17 to report seeing a wrong way driver blasting through traffic on the Sawgrass Expressway. The calls came in fast and furious, warning Coral Springs Police and Florida Highway Patrol troopers about a dangerous driver speeding down the highway.
The 911 calls obtained by CBS 4 News reveal just how dangerous it was on the highway that night and how many people tried to warn police and troopers of the potential tragedy ahead.
The first call came into Coral Springs Police and Fire at 1:45 am in the morning. One of the first calls was from an off-duty police officer.
“It looks like a white or silver, 4 door car just went by me going northbound in the southbound travel lanes of the Sawgrass Expressway at probably about 100 miles per hour,” the caller reported.
Over the next 3 minutes, Coral Springs Police received at least 10 other calls.
“I’m on the Sawgrass and there’s a guy driving on the other side of the road,” one caller said. The 911 dispatcher replied, “Ok. Let me give you the number for Florida Highway Patrol.”
In some instances 911 callers were told to hang up and try FHP. Other calls were transferred directly to FHP. At 1:48 am, three minutes after the initial call came in, the Florida Highway Patrol reached out to Coral Springs Police to inform them of the reports about a wrong way driver.
FHP: “This is the Florida Highway Patrol. I’ve got a wrong way driver on the Sawgrass. I’ve got a unit en route but he’s coming from the (Florida) turnpike. Gonna take him a few to get there.”
About a minute later, the accident occurred.
“There was just a head on collision on the Sawgrass,” a caller told a 911 dispatcher at 1:49 am.
FHP says Kayla Mendoza is the wrong way driver who slammed into Marisa Catronio’s car. Catronio was killed and her friend, Kaitlyn Ferrante, who was driving the car, was seriously injured. Ferrante died several days later.
Witness Frank Aceste told 911 the accident was bad.
“One of the cars is going on fire right now and nobody’s coming out of them,” Aceste told the 911 dispatcher, just moments after the impact. “Please send someone right away.”
At 1:51 am, as paramedics tried to rescue the victims, FHP alerted Coral Springs Police of the collision.
FHP: “Hey this is FHP, reference that wrong way vehicle. We’ve been advised it’s a head on collision.”
CORAL SPRINGS 911: “Yes. We’ve got several calls on it. We are aware. We’ve got the paramedics and the police en route.”
FHP: “Thank you. And you’ve got fire as well?”
CORAL SPRINGS: “Uh, yes, we do.”
A spokesperson for the Florida Highway Patrol told CBS 4 News that there was no delay in responding to the call and that the trooper who responded was coming from the Pompano Beach service plaza on the Florida Turnpike. FHP continues to actively investigate the case.
Memorials to the two young women sit on the side of the Sawgrass Expressway. No charges have been filed in the case. Investigators say Mendoza was drinking at a Coral Springs restaurant prior to the crash and had a blood alcohol level nearly twice the legal limit after the accident along with marijuana in her blood.