Exclusive: Court Documents Reveal Violence Of Wrong Way Wreck, Missed Opportunities To Avoid Tragedy
CORAL SPRINGS (CBSMiami) – After sifting through hundreds of pages of investigative documents and witness interviews, as well photographs and 9-1-1 calls, CBS4 News has been able to piece together a firm timeline of events that led to a tragic, high speed, wrong way crash on the Sawgrass Expressway last November that killed two Coral Springs women, Marisa Catronio and Kaitlyn Ferrante.
The documents also reveal a series of questionable and fateful decisions that had they been reversed, might have resulted in a different outcome.
The documents and images were provided to CBS 4 News through a public records request with the Broward State Attorney’s Office in the case of accused wrong way, drunk driver Kayla Mendoza.
Through the documents, CBS 4 News can piece together the sequence of events that led to the crash. On November 16, 2013, a group of employees from a Tamarac T-Mobile store decided to go out after work to watch the UFC fights. The group wound up at the Tijuana Taxi Company in Coral Springs.
Mendoza was only 20 but sales records from the restaurant show she drank two large margaritas, each with three shots of tequila. With Mendoza was her store manager Marcelo Bruzzo. He told investigators that “…the waitress never asked to produce identification.” He also said “…Kayla did state that she was under age and while others were ordering drinks she asked Mr. Bruzzo ‘do you think I will get served. Mr Bruzzo stated that he told her if you get kicked out for whatever reason it is not my responsibility.’”
After finishing their drinks, Mendoza and the group headed to a strip club but Mendoza never went in. Bruzzo said throughout the night Mendoza argued with her boyfriend and “…he was apparently upset that she was out.”
Sometime after 1 o’clock in the morning, Bruzzo took Mendoza back to her car at Tijuana Taxi. An investigator asked him:
FHP INVESTIGATOR: “…did anyone offer to give her a ride home rather than having her drive?”
BRUZZO: “Yes, multiple times…(A co-worker) kept insisting on Kayla for her to stay, but you know, Kayla was stern on her going home because she had gotten into an argument with her boyfriend.”
At some point, the Florida Highway Patrol says Mendoza tweeted “too drunk to care.” Her boyfriend Javier Reyes told CBS 4 News in an exclusive interview last year that the tweet was meant for him.
“What people don’t understand is that tweet was directed toward me,” Reyes said last November. “’2 drunk 2 care’ about my feelings and me being a little jealous, possessive.”
FHP says Mendoza drove the wrong way at speeds between 84 and 96 miles per hour for 5 miles. Several people reported her driving and the crash to 911, although they assumed it was a man driving.
“I think from what I see he just smashed straight on into another car,” said a 911 caller.
The violence of the crash destroyed Mendoza’s car and sent the everyday images of her life, like photos and an empty gum container flying through the wreckage. Mendoza was hospitalized and had a blood alcohol level of nearly twice the legal limit and marijuana in her system according to FHP.
The car carrying Marisa Catronio and Kaitlyn Ferrante was also destroyed. Kaitlyn Ferrante was rushed to the hospital where she later died, while troopers were left to inform the families of Marisa Catronio about her death…
Kayla Mendoza faces a total of 8 charges, including two counts of DUI Manslaughter and Vehicular Homicide.
Investigators tried to speak to Mendoza a few days after the crash. A report said she was “disoriented and confused” and declined to speak without her lawyer.
The documents also contain a few glowing words about Mendoza. Some of her co-workers said she was one of T Mobile’s top salespeople in this area and someone who was very good with people.