A Florida woman who tweeted that she was “2 drunk 2 care” minutes before killing two 21-year-old best friends in a wrong way car smash has been sentenced to 24 years behind bars.
Kayla Mendoza, 21, pleaded guilty in February to two DUI manslaughter charges in the November 2013 crash that killed pals Kaitlyn Ferrante and Marisa Catronio.
Police said later that Mendoza’s blood-alcohol level was almost twice Florida’s legal limit. She had been out drinking with co-workers prior to the Sawgrass Expressway, Coral Springs, crash.
Here’s what you need to know about the “2 drunk 2 care” killer who was jailed on Monday:
1. The Victims Were Best Friends
Mendoza was 20-years-old and driving without a valid driver’s license when she ran head-on into Ferrante’s 2012 Toyota Camry.
Catronio was pronounced dead at the scene around 2 am on November 17, 2013. Ferrante was taken to hospital but died from her injuries four days later.
The best friends had been heading home to Coral Springs after a night out celebrating Catronio’s 21st birthday when they were struck by a Hyundai Sonata driven by Mendoza.
2. She Cried as She Read a Letter to Her Victims’ Families
Minutes before she was sentenced, Mendoza tearfully read a letter to the families of the two women she killed.
“This all may be my fault, but at the end of the day, I’m a human being just like everyone else,” Mendoza said. “I have a heart, and it aches everyday. The guilt is overwhelming. I want to speak about this accident with everyone so that I can prevent this from ever happening again.”
“How I ended up on the Sawgrass Expressway, I wish I knew,” Mendoza told ‘Inside Edition’.
“It breaks my heart,” she added. “And when I found out that not only did I get into an accident, but the two girls I got into an accident had passed away, it just really made me wonder why I didn’t too.”
Gary Catronio, Marisa’s father, said in court that Mendoza had “changed the lives of our family forever.”
3. She’d Been Drinking With Her Workmates
Mendoza had gone out to a bar after work with her colleagues from a T-Mobile store before the crash.
She referred to herself as the “Pothead Princess” on her Twitter page and fired off dozens of tweets about being high and rolling joints. See her video deposition above.
4. Her ‘2 Drunk 2 Care’ Tweet Was For ‘Her Boyfriend’
Mendoza claims her “2 drunk 2 care” tweet was directed to her boyfriend following an argument, and was not a reference on her decision to drive.
“It did not mean, ‘I’m too drunk to care. I’m going to get in my car now and wherever the hell I end up, that’s it.’” she said in the ‘Inside Edition’ interview. “No. It was directed to my boyfriend. That’s the only person that it was for.”
5. She Will Never Drive Again
The judge said on Monday that Mendoza’s sentence includes “permanent license revocation” and told her that she would never drive again.
Mendoza cried as she was sentenced. She had faced a maximum of 30 years in prison.