Owens ordered to stand trial for Fiesta Island crash charges
by NEAL PUTNAM
Published - 05/22/15 - 04:18 PM | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A judge ordered Theresa Lynn Owens Thursday to stand trial on charges she struck six bicyclists on Fiesta Island while driving the wrong way while she was under the influence of methamphetamine.

Many victims told San Diego Superior Court Judge Jeff Fraser about the suddenness of the Aug. 12, 2014, accident when Owens’ green car crashed into 10 bicyclists at 1000 Fiesta Island Road. Only the six most seriously injured victims were named in the charges.

Deputy District Attorney Jessica Coto said Owens faces a maximum sentence of 18 years in prison if she is convicted. She is also accused of meth possession and with an unrelated driving under the influence charge in Clairemont on July 20, 2014.

Juan Carlos Vinolo, 44, testified from a wheelchair and was the first witness in the preliminary hearing. Owens is alleged to have caused him great bodily injury as he is paralyzed from the chest down. The injury enhancement adds three years to any sentence.

Logan Bass, 26, of Pacific Beach, testified Owens was driving at least 35 mph around a curve. Her car mirror struck his ribcage, saying “I flipped over the handle bars.” Bass said he remembers seeing Vinolo on the car’s roof, “saying he couldn’t feel his legs.”

Bass said Owens was screaming, twitching, and appeared to be in shock. He spent two nights in the hospital and his bicycle was totaled.

Ken Leipper testified the car struck him in the face, leaving him “black and blue” and he lost one tooth. Brandon Ewers testified the collision “flung me around” and he noticed two bystanders grabbed Owens out of the car to keep her from driving away.

“I looked back and there was carnage everywhere,” said Ewers. “They were completely blindsided.”

San Diego Police officer Mariusz Czas testified Owens said this to him at the scene: “I did a small line of meth this morning because of my back pain. It is my fault. I went the wrong way.”

Czas said the sole cause of the accident was Owens “traveling the wrong way on a 1-way street” between 30-35 mph. The car was registered to Owens, of San Diego.

Kara Magnusen, a registered nurse at UCSD, testified Owens was “combative towards staff” and made threats while she was being treated after the incident. She was restrained and administered anti-psychotic medication which put her to sleep.

Magnusen said she found “a powdery substance” in a plastic pouch in a body cavity of Owens and gave it to a police officer as evidence. The drug was determined to be methamphetamine.

Fraser set an arraignment for June 4. Owens has pleaded not guilty and remains in the Las Colinas Women’s Detention Facility on $100,000 bail. A jury on April 24 determined she was mentally competent to stand trial.
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