Owens ordered to stand trial in Fiesta Island mishap
Published - 05/26/15 - 06:22 AM | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
THERESA OWENS
THERESA OWENS
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A judge ordered Theresa Lynn Owens May 21 to stand trial on charges she struck six bicyclists on Fiesta Island while driving the wrong way and under the influence of methamphetamine.

Victims testified to San Diego Superior Court Judge Jeff Fraser about the suddenness of the Aug. 12, 2014, accident, when Owens’ 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, of San Diego, 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 miles an hour around a curve. He said her car mirror struck his ribcage, adding that he flipped over his handlebars. He said he remembers seeing Vinolo on the car’s roof, saying he couldn’t feel his legs.

Bass, who spent two nights in the hospital, said Owens was screaming and twitching and appeared to be in shock.

Ken Leipper testified the car struck him in the face and that he lost a tooth. Brandon Ewers testified the collision “flung me around” and that he noticed two bystanders take Owens out of the car to keep her from driving away.

San Diego police officer Mariusz Czas testified Owens told him she did a small amount of meth that morning to relieve back pain.

Czas said the sole cause of the accident was Owens' traveling the wrong way on a one-way street between 30 and 35 miles an hour.

Kara Magnusen, a registered nurse at UCSD, testified Owens was combative toward staff and made threats while she was being treated after the incident. She added that Owens 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. The drug was determined to be methamphetamine.

Fraser set an arraignment for Thursday, 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.

-- Neal Putnam

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