Follow CBSMIAMI.COM: Facebook | Twitter
FT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – The pain is still fresh in their hearts two years after losing their daughters. Gary Catronio and Christine Ferrante stand side by side on a mission to prevent other innocent lives from being taken.
“Maris and Katie paid the ultimate price for us to do what we are doing in saving lives,” said Catronio.
On November 17th, 2013, Marisa Catronio and Kaitlyn Ferrante were killed by a drunk driver on the Sawgrass Expressway. The driver, Kayla Mendoza, is now serving 24 years in prison for DUI manslaughter.
“The hardest thing as a parent is to put your head down on the pillow every night and not see movement in the house, not see your daughter walk out dressed, not smell her perfume, it is such a shallow feeling no parent should have to endure,” said Catronio.
In his daughter’s memory Catronio created Marisa’s Way, a campaign to prevent wrong way drivers. And on the second anniversary of her death he shared his heartbreaking story to an auditorium filled with students at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas in Parkland.
“When I saw Marisa’s license and they told me she did not make it, I fell to the ground in disbelief,” said Catronio.
“It breaks my heart to hear his story every time” said Katherine Crocker a student.
Since Marisa’s Way was created 15 “Wrong Way” signs have been installed along the Homestead extension of the Florida Turnpike and the Sawgrass Expressway.
In addition to Catronio’s heart-felt story, students were also made aware of the reality of driving under the influence.
Coral Springs firefighters used a student to demonstrate the rescue efforts of a critically injured patient.
“The presentation was scary, it was eye-opening to see what happens when you put yourself in that situation,”said student Chelsen Tyrrell.
Following the presentation family and friends held a memorial ride on the Sawgrass Expressway where Marisa and Kaitlyn lost their lives.
Gary and Marisa’s Way plan to visit Tallahassee in the near future to present their ‘pop up pods’; 45 inch pod that automatically rise from the ground when a wrong way driver enters the highway.