Kayla "2 Drunk 2 Care" Mendoza Drank at Tijuana Taxi Co. Before Crash, Witnesses Say
Witnesses told Florida Highway Patrol investigators that Kayla Mendoza had drinks at Tijuana Taxi Co. in Coral Springs with coworkers before driving a Hyundai Sonata the wrong way onto the Sawgrass Expressway and crashing into a 2012 Toyota Camry. The crash killed Marisa Catronio and a passenger, Kaitlyn Ferrante.
Witnesses also told FHP they saw Mendoza driving fast into oncoming traffic, causing cars to swerve out of the way.
Mendoza, who was hospitalized after suffering injuries, had tweeted "2 drunk 2 care" hours before the crash.
According to sworn affidavits filed by Florida Highway Patrol, several witnesses say Mendoza "was drinking alcoholic beverages with coworkers earlier the night of the crash at Tijuana Taxi Co. in Coral Springs."
The co-owner of Tijuana Taxi Co., Jessica Brooke, told the Sun Sentinel that there's no telling if they, indeed, served Mendoza alcohol. Mendoza is 20 years old -- too young to drink legally.
"There is no confirmation, and nothing in our records, that says [Mendoza] was here. Nobody remembers seeing or serving her on the premises."
Tijuana Taxi Co. has told FHP that it plans to cooperate fully with an investigation.
Gary Catronio, father of one of the victims, says the revelation that an underaged Mendoza may have been served drinks is troubling.
"If that's the case, she was 20 years old, how was she served, how did she drink?" said Catronio. "This is not pleasing news."
Last week, Catronio and his family filed a wrongful death suit against Mendoza over the death of their daughter.
A crash report filed days after the crash by the Florida Highway Patrol said that Mendoza may have been drinking prior to the crash. According to her own tweet, she was.
There were also references to smoking weed in her Twitter account.
Mendoza's family, meanwhile, told New Times that her Twitter had been hacked.
According to the lawsuit, in addition to compensation for pain and suffering, the families are asking for compensation for medical expenses and funeral expenses.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss New Times Broward-Palm Beach's biggest stories.
- Second Zika Case Reported in Broward, Web Thinks Virus Is a Conspiracy
- 3,200 Racing Greyhounds in Florida Could Retire if Law Passes, Dog Advocate Predicts
- Today's New Hampshire Race Is Vital for Jeb Bush — and It's All About Florida