"The thing that made me not feel so bad was, she was old," hellcat Kayla Gerdes, 18, told investigators after she was busted for killing 69-year-old Rebecca Twine Wright as the retired doctor trimmed her lawn Tuesday, a source told The Post.
Gerdes, of Freeport, claimed to once be a model. And she was so self-absorbed in the hours after the wreck that she told cops interviewing her she wants "to see a newspaper of the news, to see what I look like."
Just moments after the crash on the tree-lined Hempstead block, the teen showed more concern about being late for a court date than she did for the woman whose broken body was crumpled on the ground, according to court documents.
Gerdes, who cops said was high on the powerful painkiller OxyContin, stepped from the wrecked vehicle and demanded that that a passer-by help her get to the courthouse.
"I'm late for court. You have to take me to court!" she exclaimed, according to a criminal complaint. She was due to appear for allegedly stealing her mom's jewelry, even though she was driving in the opposite direction of the Nassau County courthouse in Mineola.
Her passenger and boss, Brian Steele Jr. -- who appeared to be oblivious to the carnage -- bellowed at her that she wrecked his car two weeks ago and lamented that "he has to pay for this now."
He has not been charged.
Gerdes changed her tune as she was hauled off to her arraignment yesterday, uncontrollably wailing to the cameras about the slain gardening enthusiast and mother of two.
"I didn't mean to do it . . . I'm so sorry, it was a mistake!" she screamed. "The car went out of control and I was pressing the brake and it wouldn't go!"
During her outburst yesterday, Gerdes also admitted to popping pills.
"I was on prescription drugs. Leave me alone!" she said, sobbing, "I'm sorry" over and over.
Gerdes' lawyer, John R. Lewis, said her statements to police about Wright didn't paint the whole picture of how upset his client was after the wreck, which left a gaping hole in the victim's home.
"She started crying, 'Oh, my God, is she a mother?' " he said.
Gerdes was held in lieu of $200,000 bond on manslaughter charges.
The van she was driving belongs to a roofing company she worked for.
Her boss, Steele, was driving at first, but Gerdes demanded to take the wheel because he wasn't going fast enough, police said.
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