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Teen accused in crash that killed friend: ‘I honestly wish it was me instead of her’

Like a few of their peers, Cristina Pavon-Baker and Makayla Penn skipped school and went to the mall. 

The duo were participating in senior skip day and, according to Channel 2 Action News, planned on shopping for bathing suits at Southlake Mall. 

But they never made it. 

Pavon-Baker’s car wrecked on I-75 North at the Jonesboro Road, killing 18-year-old Penn. 

RELATED: Teen indicted in senior skip day wreck that killed best friend

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Now, nearly a week after she was indicted in the fatal wreck, a remorseful Pavon-Baker told reporters the fatal wreck haunts her.

“I honestly wish it was me instead of her,” she said. “Not a single second has passed where I don't think about Makayla and her family.”

Pavon-Baker, 17, faces vehicular manslaughter and reckless conduct charges in the March 26 crash. 

Penn was a passenger in a Mini Cooper driven by Pavon-Baker, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution previously reported. According to the Georgia State Patrol, the car was “traveling at a high rate of speed” and failed to navigate the turn on the exit ramp, went airborne, overturned several times and ended up hitting a tree, uprooting it in a wooded area. 

Pavon-Baker was seriously injured and taken to Grady Memorial Hospital. Penn had to be cut out of the badly damaged car.

MORE: Teen charged in senior skip day crash that killed classmate

Prosecutors alleged Pavon-Baker was using Snapchat at the time of the fatal wreck — a claim her attorney Jackie Patterson denied saying his client misjudged the curve. Since the wreck, huge signs have been put up to warn drivers about speeding through the sharp curve. 

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

Pavon-Baker told reporters the least of her worries are the charges, Channel 2 reported. 

“It's been terrible without my best friend,” she said. “Life is not the same. There are so many times I just want to pick up the phone and call Makayla and I can't.” 

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