Woman Gets 24 Years in Prison in Fatal Crash After Drunk Tweet

Kayla Mendoza (Courtesy: CBS News)
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By: Associated Press
May 4, 2015

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) -- A South Florida woman who tweeted about being drunk minutes before a fatal wrong-way crash has been sentenced to 24 years in prison.

A Broward County judge also said 22-year-old Kayla Mendoza will remain on probation for six years after her release. Mendoza pleaded guilty in February to two DUI manslaughter charges in the November 2013 crash that killed Kaitlyn Ferrante and Marisa Catronio, both 21.

Evidence showed that Mendoza tweeted out "2 drunk 2 care" before the Sawgrass Expressway accident. Authorities later said her blood-alcohol level was almost twice Florida's legal limit. She had been out drinking with co-workers prior to the crash.

Mendoza had faced a maximum of 30 years behind bars.

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Two young women were killed early Sunday morning when their car was hit by a wrong-way driver who is believed to have tweeted "2 drunk 2 care" just hours before the deadly accident.

According to Florida Highway Patrol, Marisa Catronio, 21, was killed instantly and Kaitlyn Nicole Ferrante, 21, died several days later from injuries she sustained when the Toyota Camry they were riding in was hit by a wrong-way driver on the Seagrass Expressway in Coral Springs.

Early in the morning on Nov. 17, Kayla Mendoza, 20, was traveling east in the westbound lane when she hit the Camry with her Hyundai Sonata. Mendoza suffered severe injuries and was taken to the hospital. Florida Highway Patrol spokesperson Mark Wysocky told CBS News' Crimesider that Mendoza was not tested for alcohol at the scene because of her condition, but that results from tests on her blood taken at the hospital are pending.

The Miami New Times was the first to report the existence of a Twitter account registered to a "Kaila Mendoza." At 10:03 p.m., a little less than four hours before the time indicated on the official accident report, a tweet appeared saying "2 drunk 2 care." On the page, Mendoza describes herself as a "pot princess."

Mendoza has not been arrested or charged with any crime and Wysocky said that investigations into traffic homicides typically take 30-90 days to complete. He says the agency is aware of the Twitter post but would not confirm whether it belongs to Mendoza.

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