Kayla Mendoza sentenced to 24 years in fatal wrong-way crash

Mendoza wrote '2 drunk 2 care' hours before Sawgrass Expressway crash that killed 2

By Amanda Batchelor - Senior Digital Editor, Neki Mohan - Anchor/Reporter

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. - A woman convicted of driving the wrong way on the Sawgrass Expressway and slamming into another car head-on, killing two women inside, was sentenced to 24 years in prison Monday.

Kayla Mendoza, 21, was also sentenced to six years of probation.

Mendoza pleaded guilty in February and apologized to the families of Marisa Catronio and Kaitlyn Nicole Ferrante, who were killed in the November 2013 crash. Mendoza told both families that she would "trade spaces with them" if she could.

Before a judge decided Mendoza's sentence, Mendoza read a letter to the families in court.

"I think about them everyday and I regret my choices every day," Mendoza read. "I don't remember deciding to drive, so I can't even tell you what was going through my mind when I made that decision. I have no excuses for anything I've done. I just ask for forgiveness."

Ferrante's mother, Christine Ferrante, also took the stand Monday.

"Change has to start with someone and somewhere, and I'm asking you to set it now so that no other parent has to sit here like I do today," she said.

According to the Florida Highway Patrol, a toxicology report showed that Mendoza had a blood-alcohol level of .15 percent, nearly twice the legal limit of .08 percent, and traces of marijuana in her system when her car slammed into the car carrying the 21-year-old women.

Mendoza posted "2 drunk 2 care" on Twitter just hours before the crash.

Court documents filed in a civil lawsuit against Mendoza show that she spent about $65 on alcohol before the crash, even though she was underage at the time.

Mendoza suffered fractures to her femur, fibula and tibia in the crash.

The judge permanently revoked Mendoza's driver's license and ordered her to pay the cost of the prosecution and investigation.

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