Kayla Mendoza, Driver in Fatal Wrong-Way Wreck, Enters Not Guilty Plea

The driver in a wrong-way wreck that killed two young women entered a not guilty plea during her formal arraignment Tuesday in a Broward courtroom.

Kayla Mendoza, 21, was brought into court in a wheelchair to enter the plea on charges of DUI manslaughter, vehicular homicide and driving with a suspended license causing death.

Mendoza is charged in the Nov. 17th crash that killed Marisa Catronio and Kaitlyn Ferrante. According to the Florida Highway Patrol, Mendoza, 20 years old at the time of the crash, was driving the wrong way on the Sawgrass Expressway in a 2004 Hyundai Sonata when she struck Ferrante's 2012 Toyota Camry.

Catronio was pronounced dead at the scene, while Ferrante, her best friend, died at the hospital days later. Both Catronio and Ferrante were 21 at the time of the crash.

Mendoza was taken to Broward Health North Hospital with serious injuries. She was granted $600,000 bond last month but remains in custody.

Mendoza had a blood alcohol level of .15, almost twice Florida's legal limit of .08, in the first sample taken after the crash, according to an FHP search warrant. A second sample, taken approximately two and a half hours after the crash, showed Mendoza had a blood alcohol level of .10, the warrant said.

According to the warrant, Mendoza had been drinking at a Coral Springs bar the night of the crash. A Twitter account believed to be associated with Mendoza posted "2 drunk 2 care" hours before the crash, the warrant said.

The families of Catronio and Ferrante filed a joint lawsuit in December against Mendoza and the owner of the car she was driving at the time of the crash.

Mendoza is due back in court in July.

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