Families of 2 Sawgrass Expressway Wrong-Way Crash Victims Sue Driver, Car Owner

By Laura Rodriguez
|  Thursday, Dec 5, 2013  |  Updated 10:09 PM EDT
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The families of Marisa Catronio and Kaitlyn Ferrante stood united Thursday afternoon to announce that they've filed a joint lawsuit against Kayla Mendoza and Federico Javier Reyes Santiago, the owner of the car Mendoza was driving the night she crashed into a car carrying Catronio and Ferrante. NBC 6's Laura Rodriguez reports.

The families of Marisa Catronio and Kaitlyn Ferrante stood united Thursday afternoon to announce that they've filed a joint lawsuit against Kayla Mendoza and Federico Javier Reyes Santiago, the owner of the car Mendoza was driving the night she crashed into a car carrying Catronio and Ferrante. NBC 6's Laura Rodriguez reports.

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The families of Marisa Catronio and Kaitlyn Ferrante stood united Thursday afternoon to announce that they've filed a joint lawsuit against Kayla Mendoza and Federico Javier Reyes Santiago, the owner of the car Mendoza was driving the night she crashed into a car carrying Catronio and Ferrante.

"We wanna know what happened, we wanna know what this young girl was doing 24 hours before this terrible wrong-way accident," said attorney Brett Panter.

On Nov. 17, Kayla Mendoza was driving the wrong way on the Sawgrass Expressway in a 2004 Hyundai Sonata when she struck Ferrante's 2012 Toyota Camry, the Florida Highway Patrol said.

Catronio, 21, was pronounced dead at the scene, and her best friend Ferrante, also 21, died from her injuries four days later.

"The pain is undescribable, unimaginable," said Christine Ferrante, Ferrante's mother.

"If you take that building over there and put it on your shoulders then maybe you'd understand a little bit of our pain," said Gary Catronio, Marisa's father.

Charges have not been filed against Mendoza, who remains hospitalized.

Reyes Santiago is also being sued by the families. The lawsuit claims that he should have known that Mendoza was an inexperienced or reckless driver.

"He had a duty, it was his vehicle that ultimately caused this fatality," said attorney Jamie Finizio.

Attorneys for the defendants in the lawsuit were not listed in online Broward court records Thursday. A court hearing has not been scheduled, the records said.

The victim's families say right now they aren't focused on the tweet that Mendoza allegedly posted from her account on the night of the crash. They say their mission is to get the facts and make a difference.

"Nothing can replace [them] or none of us can feel what we're feeling inside of us, but moving forward we've gotta make a change in the roadways," said Catronio.

For more information on the organizations set up by the victim's families, see www.marisasway.org.

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