New Times began calling Florida Highway Patrol in late February for an update on Kayla Mendoza's criminal investigation. After all, it had been almost four months since Mendoza Tweeted "2 Drunk 2 Care," went behind the wheel, and caused a head-on collision that killed 21-year-old best friends Marisa Catronio and Kaitlyn Ferrante on the Sawgrass Expressway last November.
Since then, the families of Catronio and Ferrante have filed wrongful-death suits against Mendoza, her boyfriend who owned the car, and the restaurant that reportedly sold the 20-year-old alcoholic drinks, Tijuana Taxi Co.
Previously, Sgt. Mark Wysocky of Florida Highway Patrol would only tell New Times that the case was still a pending investigation. But after yesterday's blog post, he called to elaborate.
"We are currently in our final stages of reviewing the case," Wysocky said over the phone.
According to Wysocky, most accidents involving fatalities take more than 90 days to investigate, and some may take more than a year. He pointed out that homicide investigators are not the only factors that determine when a case is presented to the State Attorney's Office. Often, he said, the case relies on follow-up interviews of witnesses (who can be difficult to track down) and search warrants. Even after the vehicles have been moved from the road, Wysocky said Florida Highway Patrol might return to the scene or the lot where the impounded vehicles are to take more photographs.
"Let's not slap something together and send it off," Wysocky explained. "We want to conduct a thorough investigation and a strong case [to the State Attorney's Office]."
But when asked to estimate a date when charges would finally be filed, Wysocky still said there is no definite timeline.