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Channel 10: Driver who struck and injured cyclists has a criminal history

i Aug 13th 4 Comments by

Cyclists injured by drunk driver on Fiesta Island. Photo: Joel Price

Yesterday evening, a group of cyclists riding on the popular Fiesta Island, were struck by a drunk driver who was driving the wrong way. Thankfully, no one was killed.

KTLA describes Fiesta Island as follows:

Fiesta Island Road is one-way throughout the island, which is a park within Mission Bay. It is regarded by cyclists as an especially safe place to ride.

Yesterday, in the one safe haven for cycling in San Diego, people were seriously hurt.

Channel 10’s Melissa Meckjia has uncovered that the driver, Theresa Owens, has both a criminal history and a history of driving under the influence (DUIs). Owens is currently behind bars. Bail is set at $100,000.

A local cyclist and attorney, Mike Bomberger, stated that the victims were unlikely to recoupe medical costs from the driver,

“I’m fairly pessimistic that she has insurance,” he said. “A lot of the people that I spoke to that were on the scene, said it looked like the driver lived out of her car. Even if people have uninsured motorists coverage, they often times don’t carry enough.”

This was our statement we released to Channel 10

The driver who drove the wrong way on Fiesta Island needs to be charged and the incident fully investigated. The driver has to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, given that she was behind the wheel despite having multiple DUIs. The SDPD is undergoing a severe crisis of leadership right now and this is a terrific opportunity for them to demonstrate that their promise to serve and protect also extends to people who ride bicycles. Drinking and driving should be penalized and drivers who are inebriated should not be permitted to get behind the wheel of a machine that can hurt or kill.”

Not unlike Marjie Barnes-Grant, the cyclists injured last night are unlikely to see justice.

It’s time for the San Diego Police Department and our local government to step up and do its job.  DUI enforcement efforts have to be increased and penalties have to match the damage that a motor vehicle causes on society. A privilege to drive granted by a drivers license isn’t a right to drive, especially when a massive and callous disregard for human life is shown.

Update 8/14/2014:Re: Fiesta Island crash. Spoke to SDPD, they intend to recommend prosecution to fullest extent of law. Case will be submitted to District Attorney’s Office in three days

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Comments

  • Dan Orr

    Can anyone tell us which courthouse and when this case will be heard?

    • Bike San Diego

      Dan: Trying to find out the answer. If anyone reading this figures it out, please post here.

  • Bike San Diego

    From MJ Cyclery owner, Scott Armstrong The driver’s arraignment is Friday morning at the downtown courthouse at 1:30 PM. We should really all be there with bike helmets. Please show up
    220 W. Broadway
    San Diego, CA 92101

  • Anonymous

    I spoke to the DA attorney on this case this morning and made her aware of the severe injuries to Juan Carlos Vinolo. They were brought up at arraignment this afternoon. The bail was increased from $100K to $300K. The defendant has many priors. I gave the DA Vinolo’s cell phone numbers and the DA said she would be following up with the Vinolo family and the hospital. Please keep the attention going on this. And please check out this website for information about JC and a small donation if you can.

    http://www.gofundme.com/d1nuf8

    And there are many articles that mention the DA and the bail. http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2014/aug/15/bicyclist-paralyzed-meth-crash-owens-fiesta-island/

    Thank you.