Recently, a tragic story hit the news in Florida about two young Coral Springs women who were killed on the Sawgrass Expressway due to someone else’s negligent driving. Marisa Caran Catronio, the passenger in a 2012 Camry, died at the scene of the head-on collision that occurred when another driver entered the westbound Expressway lanes headed the wrong direction. The Camry’s driver Kaitlyn Nicole Ferrante died four days later.
21-year-old Marisa and her best friend Kaitlyn (20) were driving home from a night out at around 1:45 on a Sunday morning, when a Hyundai Sonata going the wrong way on the Sawgrass hit them head on, killing Marisa at the scene and sending Kaitlyn to the hospital, where she remained on life support for four days until finally succumbing to severe head injuries. The driver of the other car survived the crash with serious injuries.
The heartbreaking story of two best friends killed in a collision went viral when it was found that the driver of the Sonata that hit them was allegedly a self-professed recreational marijuana user who often drank to excess. A Twitter account believed to be that of the driver showed multiple posts about drug use and getting drunk – including the message “2 drunk 2 care” which was posted just hours before the collision that took the two girls’ lives. Police are including the Twitter account in their ongoing investigation into the crash, but so far charges have not been filed in the deaths.
Although drugs and/or alcohol may have had a part in this tragedy, Marisa’s father Gary Catronio says that safety measures are needed to keep other drivers from entering the wrong side of the highway in the future. Mr. Catronio hopes to launch a campaign in his daughter’s memory to get onramps equipped with flashing warning signals or even spike strips to prevent accidents like the one that killed his daughter.
The NHTSA reports that an average of 350 people die each year in wrong-way freeway crashes, with drunk driving identified as one of the main culprits. Other lapses in judgment may also be a partial cause – talking on a cell phone, texting, eating, drinking, changing music or falling asleep at the wheel. Missing or ineffective signage may also contribute to the danger of head-on collisions such as this one.
Tragic deaths such as those of Marisa and Kaitlyn bring grief, anger, and incomprehension to family. Knowing that a life was cut short due to someone else’s mistake or negligence only adds to the grief surrounding this kind of loss. Although nothing can take away the sorrow of the death of a loved one, winning a wrongful death case against those responsible may help family members receive financial compensation for damages, and some sense of justice. I sincerely hope that Marisa’s and Kaitlyn’s parents can eventually achieve some closure and get justice for the loss of these two beautiful girls.
Our hearts and prayers go out to the families affected by this horrible tragedy.