The nation was shocked by reports that Kayla Gerdes, who was allegedly high on OxyContin, felt little remorse because the woman she ran down was elderly.
Authorities quoted her as saying, "The thing that made me not feel so bad was, she was old. Seventy years is a long time to live."
Now, the mother of the teenager who mowed down an elderly doctor is defending her daughter. INSIDE EDITION's Paul Boyd spoke exclusively with Kayla's mother, Tara, in Uniondale, New York, not far from where her 18-year-old daughter is behind bars.
"It's your worst nightmare as a parent to have this happen. They're portraying her as a horrible teenaged girl who doesn't care, could care less. It's so not true," said Gerdes.
Boyd asked, "Did she really say she didn't feel bad because the victim was old?"
"She never said anything like that to me. She said, 'Mommy, this woman has died! How can I live with myself?' My daughter is a very sensitive little girl. We raised her to love and to respect," said Gerdes.
Gerdes says Kayla has an addiction problem.
Kayla's lawyer, John R. Lewis Jr. said, "She has a drug problem but it doesn't mean she was driving under the influence of drugs."
The tragedy happened when Kayla drove off the road and across the lawn of a house, killing 69-year-old Rebecca Twine-Wright, a retired doctor who was mowing her lawn. Kayla was actually on her way to family court to answer a criminal charge of stealing jewelry from her own mother.
"I was going before a judge to see if I could get my daughter into a rehab program," said Gerdes.
Now Kayla's mom says she can't bring herself to turn on the television, which is filled with images of her daughter's dramatic breakdown.
Boyd asked, "What do you say to the family of that woman who was killed on her front lawn?"
"I'm so sorry that they lost a beautiful mother. It's so hard. I'm so devastated for them," said Gerdes.
Kayla Gerdes has pleaded not guilty to manslaughter.