CORAL SPRINGS (CBSMiami) – The wrong-way driver accused of causing a deadly accident on the Sawgrass Expressway early Sunday morning doesn’t even have a valid driver’s license, according to Florida Highway Patrol.
A massive procession of cars flowed into a Parkland church Friday as mourners said farewell to Marisa Catronio. As Marisa was laid to rest we spoke with former neighbors of the driver — Kaila Mendoza,20, who authorities say was driving the wrong way on the Sawgrass Expressway early Sunday morning when she hit and killed Catronio and Kaitlyn Ferrante.
Mendoza was heading east in her Hyundai Sonata in the westbound lanes of the expressway when she collided with the Toyota Camry driven by Ferrante just west of University Drive around 1:45 a.m., according to the Florida Highway Patrol.
According to Florida Highway Patrol, Ferrante suffered from severe head injuries in the accident and was kept on life support while in the hospital. Thursday she was pronounced dead. On Thursday night, Ferrante’s family and friends joined together for a candlelight vigil. As the tears flowed, Ferrante’s mother, Christine, addressed the crowd.
“We’ll always have an angel watching over all of us, no matter where we are,” she assured them.
Christine Ferrante said her daughter made a difference in people’s lives.
“She just spread happiness all over the place, wherever she went,” Ferrante told CBS 4’s Carey Codd. “She made people laugh. People smile. She was selfless.”
Catronio, who was sitting in the Camry’s front passenger seat, was killed on impact, according to her father, Gary Catronio.
On the day Kaitlyn passed and on the day hundreds gathered for a viewing to Marisa, Mendoza’s tweets came to light. The “2 drunk 2 care” tweet brought a sense of understanding to Marisa’s father, Gary.
“I didn’t need a blood alcohol test,” he said. “This person was drunk and on a suicide mission.”
Mendoza’s Twitter account was first reported on by the Miami New Times.
Mendoza’s Twitter handle was @highimkaila and in the description, she’s described as the “pothead princess.”
Mendoza had previously tweeted thoughts like, “Can’t deal with people that don’t have their *expletive* together,” and a picture of a hand holding what appears to be a marijuana cigarette.
On November 12, Mendoza tweeted, “2 high 2 care,” and on November 2, “I really am so baked right now.” The tweets were difficult for Marisa’s family to read.
“For someone like her to take my sister’s life, the moment I saw that I felt so much anger,” said her brother, Jesse.
But the family’s of both young women remain focused on preventing another senseless loss of life. They want to increase safety on highways across the country to stop a wrong way crash before it happens by adding lights, audible warnings and even spikes, if necessary.
“We’re not gonna let Marisa’s life be in vain,” said Marisa’s uncle, Ron. “We’re gonna try and have some sense of accomplishment, some sense of duty.”
Kaitlyn Ferrante was selfless in a special way, according to her mother. Christine Ferrante told CBS 4 News that her daughter donated her heart and that it’s already beating inside someone else tonight, giving them life.
Marisa Catronio’s family held her funeral on Friday. Kaitlyn Ferrante’s funeral will be held on Saturday.
CBS 4 News spoke with several of Kaila Mendoza’s neighbors at her former Hallandale Beach home. Liz Brezear and her son Kevin said they never saw any of the behavior that Mendoza is accused of.
“I was shocked,” said Kevin Brezear. “It didn’t even occur to me like how could such a thing happen to her. She’s such a nice and sweet girl.”
“She was always a good kid, shy and working,” said Liz Brezear.
The Florida Highway Patrol says they are aware of Kayla Mendoza’s tweets and are investigating. There have been no charges filed yet but authorities say these cases can take weeks or months to put together.