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Family Marks Anniversary Of Wrong Way Crash On Sawgrass

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CORAL SPRINGS (CBSMiami) - The families of the two women who died after they were involved in a deadly wrong-way accident on the Sawgrass Expressway have marked the one year anniversary of the crash which claimed their lives.

Twenty one year old Kayla Mendoza's blood alcohol level was nearly twice the legal limit when she drove the wrong way on the Sawgrass Expressway last November and slammed into a car carrying 21-year old Kaitlyn Nicole Ferrante and 21-year old Marisa Caran Catronio, according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

Mendoza, who faces several charges including DUI Manslaughter and Vehicular Manslaughter, has pleaded not guilty.

On Monday, the families of Ferrante and Catronio held a driving safety event at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School where Kaitlyn and Marisa went to school. During presentation, the students were told what had happened could happen to anyone and they needed to make responsible decisions on the road.

"It's endless pain every single day," said Kaitlyn's sister Ashley, "And I just hope that no one else in this room has to be impacted by something like this."

"When they left their house, they did not go out to die but for some reason they did. Speed. Sets belts. Alcohol. Whatever the story is, it did happen to them and it can happen to you if you're not careful," Tara Kirschner with the Dori Slosberg Foundation told the students.

Marisa's father, Gary Catronio, said he knows that nothing can bring back his daughter but if he can use his pain to change at least one student's mind and possibly safe a life, he knows his daughter would be proud.

"Yesterday when we were in a Mass, it was day when I just fell to pieces. Today I have inner strength. I've got my daughter looking down, holding me up, saying dad you have to make this state proud for us and get the word out there to save lives," said Catronio.

The families then led a procession of friends and supporters on drive on the Sawgrass Expressway where the accident happened.

CLICK HERE To Watch Gaby Fleischman's Report

Shortly after the accident, Mendoza said she has no recollection of driving on the highway or the accident.

"And when I found out that not only did I get into an accident but the two girls that I got into the accident with passed away, it just really made me wonder why I didn't too," said Mendoza. "Those beautiful girls are not here anymore and it's because of me."

Mendoza does recall going out with drinks with co-workers the night of accident. At the time, she was only 20-years old.

The families of Ferrante and Catronio have sued Mendoza's former employer. They say she left her place of employment -- a T Mobile store in Tamarac -- last November 16th, and went out for a work-related function with co-workers.

Investigators said the group ended up at Tijuana Taxi Company in Coral Springs where Mendoza, who was underage, drank two large margaritas with several shots of tequila each and got drunk.

The lawsuit filed by the families claims that Mendoza's supervisor, Marcelo Bruzzo, was with her and knew she was not old enough to drink.

Investigators said before Mendoza was involved in the deadly wrong way crash on the Sawgrass, Bruzzo took her to her car and allowed her to drive off.

The women's families said this was one more failed opportunity for someone to prevent their unimaginable loss.


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