Kaila Mendoza, the 20-year-old college student from Hallandale Beach, Fla., who gained the exact wrong kind of national fame last month when she drove the wrong way on a freeway and collided head-on with a car carrying two 21-year-old women, killing both, was a "warm, hard-working, energetic, lovable person" who did not have a substance abuse problem.
The accident was horrendous enough, but just hours before the crash, Mendoza had posted what turned out to be a chilling message on her Twitter account. The message read, “2 drunk 2 care.”
Read Opposing Views' previous coverage of the tragedy here and here.
Her Twitter account was filled with flippant messages about her drug and alcohol use, and she described herself online as “pothead princess.” But it was the seeming callous and heartless nature of that last message that turned her into a figure of disgust for the whole country.
Now, her boyfriend says that the media characterization of her is not the young woman he knows at all.
The tweet, he says, was actually directed at him, because the young couple had just had a spat, because he was upset that she went out with other friends when he planned to come home from work early and surprise her.
“I understand how anyone looking outside would interpret it because I see that but what people don’t understand is that tweet was directed toward me,” Javier Reyes told a Miami TV station. “‘2 drunk 2 care’ about my feelings, about me being a little possessive, jealous.”
Reyes said he has no idea if Mendoza was actually drunk at the time, or when she got into her car later that night for the ill-fated wrong-way ride. He would not comment on the accident, except to apologize to the families of the victims, best friends Marisa Catronio and Kaitlyn Ferrante.
“I’m extremely sorry. At least I got to see her again. I can’t fathom that thought of you guys not being able to see them again, he said. "And I know that’s heart-wrenching and I know it’s hard as hell.”
He said that he has been told his girlfriend may have suffered brain damage in the accident and that she broke both of her legs.
A witness said that Mendoza drove the wrong way for several miles and narrowly missed several oncoming vehicles before crashing into the car containing Catronio and Ferrante.
A further look into Mendoza’s social media activity also turned up a video she posted of herself smoking marijuana and another of her drinking beer. Reyes also appears in the pot-smoking clip, which she titled “Wake n Bake.” That’s a term that refers to smoking marijuana first thing in the morning.
Reyes also appears in the “Wake n Bake” clip, which can be seen at this link.
While Reyes does not deny that he an Mendoza smoked marijuana and drank alcohol, he says that isn’t a reflection on Mendoza’s character. “She is a warm — like I said — hard-working, energetic, lovable person,” he said.
Police have yet to reveal findings on whether Mendoza was intoxicated at the time of the fatal accident.
SOURCES: CBS 4 Miami (2)