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Disregard for Life

“2 Drunk 2 Care”, the 20 year old Kayla Mendoza tweeted just hours before driving her car east in her Hyundai sonata on the westbound lanes of the Sawgrass Expressway in Florida resulting in a head on collision killing two around 1:45am. A Florida Patrol officer said “I’ve never seen anything like it.” Kaitlyn Ferrante, 20 and Marisa Catronio, 21 just celebrated Catronio’s twenty-first birthday just hours before and were heading home to Coral Springs. Mendoza was rushed to the Broward Health North hospital and was reported to remain in serious condition. Catronio was pronounced dead on the scene while Ferrante was rushed to the same ER with severe head injuries. She was placed on life support and sadly pronounced dead on Thursday morning.

The disastrous story has caused a rare and high amount of attention. So what has the public so angry? Mendoza, who’s name on twitter is @highimkaila and goes by the moniker “Pothead Princess”, has repeatedly boasted online about drinking alcohol and taking drugs.

  • “2 high 2 care” – 11/12/13
  • “Can’t sleep without my bedtime blunt” – 11/19/13
  • “I really am so baked right now” – 11/2/13
  • “I have a test at 8am, why am I drunk right now” – 10/26/13
  • “My car permanently smells like weed” – 10/14/13
  • “I have a monthly marijuana budget. #bills” – 8/21/13

Just a week after the accident, the Mendoza family has spoken on the tragedy to the public for the first time. Her family states that someone hacked her account and posted all 5,000 tweets as well as pictures with Mendoza holding the substance. Luis Massey, a cousin of the 20 year old Mendoza, visited her at the Broward Health North hospital stating “She has many injuries. She has woken up, but has had some head trauma.” Massey then goes on proclaiming “People need to know she’s no monster. I have known her my whole life and people are trying to make her look like a junkie. She’s a respectable, honest, loving person.”

On the day Ferrante passed and the day of the viewing for Catronio, hundreds gathered around in honor of the victims for a candlelight vigil. As tears flowed, family members spoke out remembering the loved ones and the joy Catronio and Ferrante brought to their lives.

Mendoza has yet to be charged with any crime, blood could not be drawn for an alcohol test from Mendoza due to her condition at the scene. The Florida Highway Patrol said they are investigating and are aware of the slander on Mendoza’s twitter account. However, these cases can take weeks or even months to construct. A friend of Kayla’s who would like to remain anonymous stated “she will never be the same mentally ever again. That itself is enough punishment.” However, loved ones of the victims hope she gets what she deserves.

It is not our position to sit in judgment or render an opinion in cases such as this that attract wide-spread public attention. I presume that more evidence will be uncovered as the investigation unfolds. What I will say is that our roadways remain unsafe due to careless drivers that decide to risk the lives of innocent motorists. Selfish individuals make a calculated choice to get behind the wheel of a missile that weighs a few thousand pounds.

If you or a loved one suffers a loss or a serious injury due to the negligence of a driver under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol, it is important to consult with a Florida licensed attorney. An experienced lawyer can inform you of your rights during a tumultuous time. To schedule a free consultation and case evaluation, please call the injury law attorneys at the Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA today at: (727) 451-6900. You can read about our qualifications and experience on our website https://www.dolmanlaw.com/practice-area/drunk-driving-dui/