FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The families of two women who were killed in a wrong-way crash on the Sawgrass Expressway urged a judge to deny bond for the woman alleged to be responsible.
Kayla Mendoza, 21, made her first appearance in court Tuesday afternoon. She appeared by closed-circuit television from a Pompano Beach jail, where she faces eight criminal charges, including DUI manslaughter.
"Kayla Mendoza killed my sister and I don't think it's at all fair for her to be set free and have any bond," Ashley Ferrante told the judge.
Ferrante's sister, Kaitlyn, was killed in the November 2013 crash. Maria Catronio also died in the head-on collision.
Their friends and relatives crowded into the courtroom wearing T-shirts and buttons with pictures of the 21-year-old women.
Judge John Hurley was not able to deny her bond by law, but he did set her bond at $600,000. He noted that Mendoza never had a driver's license and was ticketed for driving without one six years ago, never paying the fine.
Court records show Mendoza was not only drunk, but also had marijuana in her system at the time of the crash. She wrote "2 drunk 2 care" on Twitter just hours before the crash.
Mendoza was still in a wheelchair and recovering from injuries she suffered in the crash.
"It's tough to see her and to realize that young lady took away all the vibrancy of Marisa that we'll never see again," said Ron Catronio, Maria's uncle.
If Mendoza posts bond, she will be placed on house arrest.