Kayla Mendoza, according to authorities, was driving at “about 100 miles an hour,” and she slammed into another car carrying two young women in November 2013.
Mendoza, minutes before the accident, had tweeted, “2 drunk 2 care.”
Later, she Mendoza was sentenced to 24 years in prison for crashing her car, killing Marissa Catronio and Kaitlyn Ferrante, who were both 21.
She faced a maximum 30 years in prison after she pleaded guilty on DUI manslaughter charges.
— NBC News (@NBCNews) May 5, 2015
ABC-7 elaborated more on the story: “Mendoza, who was 20 at the time, was driving her Hyundai Sonata the wrong way down the Sawgrass Expressway in Coral Springs when her car collided head-on with a 2012 Toyota Camry on Nov. 16, 2013. The passenger in the Camry, 21-year-old Marisa Caran Catronio, was pronounced dead at the scene. The Camry’s driver and Catronio’s best friend, 21-year-old Kaitlyn Nicole Ferrante, was rushed to Broward Health North Medical Center in critical condition. She later died when her family took her off life support.”
Mendoza herself suffered two broken legs as well as head injuries.
— ABC30 Fresno (@ABC30) May 6, 2015
Officials said that her blood-alcohol level was 0.15, which is almost twice Florida’s legal limit of .08.
Before she was sentenced, Mendoza said in court, “I know that I have made mistakes and the outcome is so much more than I could ever imagine,” according to NBC.
“No matter how much time passes they will never leave my heart. I think about them everyday and I regret my choices everyday,” she added. “I don’t remember deciding to drive that night 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.”
— ABC7 Eyewitness News (@ABC7) May 6, 2015
Drunk Driving Stats
On any given day, nearly 30 people in the United States die in drunk-driving crashes, according to 2017 figures published by the United States Department of Transportation.
This is equivalent to one lost life every 48 minutes or just over 10,000 deaths per year.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, of the 1,233 traffic deaths among children ages 0 to 14 years in 2016, 214 (17 percent) involved a driver operating under the influence of alcohol.
More than 1 million drivers were arrested in 2016 for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics.
Deaths due to drunk-driving have fallen by a third in the last three decades, the DOT notes.