FT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – Kayla Mendoza sat in a cramped room at the North Broward Detention Facility, surrounded by attorneys last August. For hours bared her soul about the deadly wrong way crash that she is accused of causing.
An attorney asked her, “Are you sorry to the family that lost their loved ones?”
Mendoza replied, “I don’t mean to cry. I don’t feel that there is any way that I could really express my apology.”
But over the course of the deposition – in between discussion of her marijuana use, twitter obsession and explanation of her reasons for going out with co-workers prior to the crash – Mendoza tried to explain to the families how she realizes the damage she caused and that she accepts responsibility for what she did.
“If I could take my life and that would bring Kaitlyn and Marisa back, I would do that in second and I just want them to know, like I said, it will never go away,” she said. “I talk to them and I pray to them every night. I apologize to the girls every single night. I just pray to them and I say please just help your parents understand that I didn’t mean for this to happen. And that I’m sorry.”
Mendoza is accused of driving the wrong way at a high speed on the Sawgrass Expressway in November 2013, slamming into a car with Marisa Catronio and Kaitlyn Ferrante inside and killing both women. Investigators said Mendoza’s blood alcohol level was nearly twice the legal limit. Mendoza’s lawyer and Brett Panter and Jamie Finizio, lawyers for the victim’s families who are suing Mendoza, Mendoza’s boyfriend, her former employer and the restaurant where she allegedly drank underage, attended the deposition.
In a wide-ranging deposition that lasted more than two hours, the self-described “Pothead Princess” talked about many topics, including her marijuana use since high school.
Attorney Panter asked her, “Would it be if we had to generally on a weekly basis was it every week, two or three times a week? Give me some idea.”
She replied, “Couple of times a week,” adding that she openly discussed her marijuana use on twitter.
She also admitted that she drove her boyfriend’s car without having a license like she did the night she slammed into Ferrante and Catronio.
“Did it happen more than once that I drove his car? Yes,” she said. “But it wasn’t something that happened all of the time.”
She also addressed the infamous “2 drunk 2 care” tweet that she sent hours before the crash when investigators say she was out drinking with her T-Mobile co-workers, including her supervisor Marcello Bruzzo.
“The ‘2 drunk 2 care’ tweet was for my boyfriend because he was upset that I was hanging out with them and with Marcelo drinking because (my boyfriend) wanted me to be home,” she said.
Throughout the deposition, Mendoza neither minimized her actions nor denied that she got drunk and caused the crash that left so many in so much pain.
“I just want them to know that regardless of my tweets and all of those sorts of things like that that none of this was intentional,” Mendoza said. “It’s not like I wanted to go up to the restaurant and I just wanted to drink and drive around and crash and kill somebody and that I know that no matter what I say, no matter how much I apologize it will never change what happened.”
Mendoza discussed the night she went to Tijuana Taxi with her co-workers, but attorneys for the victims’ families asked CBS 4 News to hold off reporting what she said because of ongoing legal discussions. Receipts show Mendoza drank two large margarita’s at the restaurant then the group went to a strip club. Later, investigators said Mendoza’s boss – Bruzzo – dropped her off at her car at the restaurant to drive home. In the deposition, Mendoza said she remembers none of it and again apologized to the victim’s families.
She said, “I don’t want (the victim’s families) to feel it is, you know, how convenient that she doesn’t remember anything. I really don’t.”
“You were that intoxicated?” attorney Finizio asked.
Mendoza replied, “That and when I was in the hospital (I) had to talk to the doctors and she said I got brain injury so I’m not going to remember it.”
A new revelation in the deposition is that Mendoza said the T-Mobile group went to Tijuana Taxi once before and Mendoza said she was not carded by the server during that visit.
“The people that worked at Tijuana Taxi were saying they always ID but that time I had went previously I remember they did not ID me,” she said.
There will be a hearing in early December regarding Mendoza’s bond. According to a motion for bond reductions filed in court, Mendoza’s lawyer argues that the deposition “was voluntary and demonstrates the willingness of the Defendant to accept responsibility for her actions and to assist the victim’s families in the pending civil case for damages.” Mendoza’s current bond is set at $600,000. In the deposition Mendoza said the bond was “too high” for her to be released.
Christine Ferrante, Kaitlyn Ferrante’s mother, said she wants Mendoza to remain in jail. Ferrante struggles with Mendoza’s apologies.
“It’s extremely hard for me to put in words how I feel,” Ferrante said. “She took my daughter from me. Sorry is not enough. She took my world from me and I’m praying justice will be served.”
Gary Catronio had a similar reaction to Mendoza’s words of contrition.
“Apologies don’t bring Marisa back,” Catronio said. “More important than an apology is having my daughter here.”
Throughout the deposition, Mendoza lamented the missed opportunities to avoid the fatal crash, how a co-worker could have taken her home, how she wanted to call her boyfriend for a ride but misplaced her phone or how someone could have called her a cab. Ultimately, her grief led her back to the victim’s families and all they have suffered and all they lost because of her.
“It’s not something that will ever go away,” she said. “It bothers me every single day. Everyday I think about it. Every single day.”
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