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.
Keep New Times Broward-Palm Beach Free... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering South Florida with no paywalls.