Two women from Coral Springs were killed in November after another woman drove a vehicle into oncoming traffic. The Florida Highway Patrol recently released that Kayla Mendoza was driving intoxicated with a blood alcohol level of almost twice the legal limit.
Mendoza’s blood alcohol level was .15 one hour after the crash. In Florida, the legal blood alcohol level to drive is .08. The toxicology report also shows there was marijuana in her blood.
There is now a search warrant for her arrest. She has been at a physical rehabilitation facility, but has now been released and is at home recuperating. She suffered two broken legs and a severe head injury. While there are no charges as of yet, an investigation of the crash continues.
Witnesses claim they saw Mendoza at Tijuana Taxi Co. restaurant drinking. The families of the victims are now suing the restaurant, Mendoza, and her boyfriend Javier Reyes because he is the owner of the vehicle she was allegedly driving.
Gary Catronio, the father of one of the victims said this:
It was her choice to get in the car and start it. It was her choice to drive it. It was her choice to drive without a valid driver’s license. The choices were all hers. They were the wrong choices.
The mother of victim Kaitlyn Ferrante had this to say:
I want everybody who is involved in allowing her [Mendoza] to drink – when she is not supposed to be drinking – to pay.
Additional incriminating evidence is being collected from Mendoza’s social media accounts. In a tweet, she wrote “2 drunk 2 care about my feelings, about me being a little possessive, jealous.” She also mentions her marijuana use, “I break all my bongs cuz I have butter fingers” and “I really am so baked right now.”
Does Mendoza Have a Defense?
From what you’ve just read, you probably can’t imagine that Mendoza has a defense, but she does. In just about any DUI case, there are ways to prove reasonable doubt the charged person was not at fault for the personal injury, property damage, or drinking and driving incident.
It’s unlikely the prosecution will use the social media posts as evidence, as it’s impossible to prove she wrote the posts. They also may not indicate that she was drunk at the time of the crash.
Due to the severity of the injuries, it’s likely in the wake of the crash the officers may have not followed the strict protocols for a DUI charge. This could mean the evidence they are gathering could be thrown out of court.
It may also be difficult to prove who was driving the vehicle. In the crash, it’s possible people could have been thrown, which would make it impossible to decide who was actually the person in the driving seat at the time of the accident.
These are just some of the ways experienced lawyers can help people with DUI charges. They know what to look for and the evidence to gather to throw the prosecution off course as they try to prove beyond reasonable doubt someone was drinking and driving, and in this case, causing a crash that killed two women.
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