Teen charged in death of best friend in crash: "I honestly wish it was me"

MORROW, Ga. — A teen who is charged in the death of her best friend during a violent car crash on senior skip day says she wishes she had died instead of her friend.

Christina Pavon-Baker, 17, who is charged with first-degree vehicular homicide in the death of Mikayla Penn, 18, spoke to reporters for the first time Monday.

Channel 2's Tom Jones was in Clayton County as Pavon-Baker talked about her remorse over the March 26 crash. The girls were headed to go bathing suit shopping at Southlake Mall when Pavon-Baker's car went off the road and hit a tree. Penn died on the scene.

Pavon-Baker said she misses her best friend every day and wishes she had died in the crash instead of Mikayla.

"I honestly wish it was me instead of her," the teen said. "Not a single second has passed where I don't think about Mikayla and her family."

Prosecutors said Pavon-Baker was driving 106 mph on a sharp curve on the I-75 Northbound Morrow exit ramp when she lost control of her Mini-Cooper.

Prosecutors said the high speed -- and the fact that Pavon-Baker may have been on Snapchat -- played a part on the crash.

On Monday, Pavon-Baker's lawyer, Jackie Patterson, denied allegations the teen was on the social networking app. Patterson said a lack of signs alerting drivers about a dangerous curve played a role in the crash.

Patterson says Pavon-Baker had never been on the exit ramp and misjudged the sharp curve.

"So she misjudged it when she went on that exit and that's how this accident occurred," Patterson said.


Large signs alerting drivers to the lower speed limit and the curve ahead have since been installed. But Patterson says they should have gone up sooner.

"I have over 63 accidents that have taken place at that same ramp. The ramp is inherently dangerous," Patterson said. "We believe the state should have had those signs there prior to this tragic accident."

Pavon-Baker says she isn't concerned about facing charges, she just wanted to say how sorry she is.

"It's been terrible without my best friend. Life is not the same. There are so many times I just want to pick up the phone and call Mikayla and I can't," Pavon-Baker says.