Comments Off on Trial To Begin For Theresa Lynn Owens, 50, Who Drove Into Group Of Fiesta Island Cyclists While High on Methamphetamine

Opening statements are scheduled Tuesday in the trial of a motorist who was allegedly on drugs when she drove into a group of cyclists on Fiesta Island last summer, critically injuring one rider.

Theresa Lynn Owens, 50, is charged with a felony count of driving under the influence of drugs causing injury and two misdemeanor drug counts. She faces up to 18 years in state prison if convicted.theresa_owens_arraign_1408144538434_7394602_ver1_0_640_480_t250

Owens was driving the wrong way on a one-way road about 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 12, 2014, when her car plowed into a group of 16-20 cyclists, hitting 10 of the riders head-on, according to Deputy District Attorney Jessica Coto.

Witnesses said the defendant got out of her car and appeared to be under the influence of drugs, screaming and acting erratically. She was taken to a hospital, where a baggie of methamphetamine was found in a body cavity, the prosecutor said.

One of the cyclists, Juan Carlos Vinolo, was left permanently paralyzed from the chest down.

Vinolo testified at a preliminary hearing in May that he was riding near the front of the pack — traveling about 24 miles per hour — when Owens came around a blind corner and plowed into him and others — sending him into the defendant’s windshield.

“I kept telling everyone around me, I can’t feel my legs,” Vinolo testified. “I didn’t feel pain. I didn’t feel numbness. I didn’t feel anything.”

San Diego police Officer Mariusz Czas said he interviewed Owens at the crash scene. He said she admitted taking methamphetamine that morning for back pain and took responsibility for the collision.

He quoted her as saying, “It is my fault. I came (drove) the wrong way.”

The officer estimated Owens was going 30-35 mph prior to the crash.

The defendant was on probation for misdemeanor disturbing the peace when she was arrested in the Fiesta Island crash, the prosecutor said.

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