Driver in Fiesta Island Cycling Crash Found Competent to Stand Trial

Theresa Owens' defense attorney has requested a second examination

The San Diego woman who crashed her vehicle into cyclists on Fiesta Island four months ago was found competent to stand trial by one expert, NBC 7 has learned.

Theresa Owens, 49, was arrested Aug. 12 after her vehicle traveled the wrong way on the island in Mission Bay and struck approximately 10 cyclists.

Owens has pleaded not guilty to charges of felony DUI causing injury and possession of a controlled substance. Prosecutors claim Owens was found to have a baggie of meth hidden in her vagina at the time of her arrest.

Owens’ attorney spoke at Monday’s hearing in San Diego Superior Court downtown and said he will hire another mental health expert to evaluate his client.

The judge ordered a competency exam for Owens to determine whether she’s competent to stand trial. In the meantime, all criminal proceedings will be on hold.

Ten of those bicyclists were injured, including La Jolla father and husband Juan Carlos Vinolo, who is now paralyzed as a result of the collision.

Vinolo attended Monday’s hearing with his family.

Now out of the hospital but still in rehab, Vinolo told NBC 7 his life after the crash has been a very difficult reality to accept.

He said it's difficult to realize there are so many things he's not going to be able to do again.

Also, he said the implications of his injuries are a lot greater than most people think.

The economical consequences are enormous, Vinolo said.

Vinolo's supporters have set up an online fundraiser for Vinolo and his family as they face hospital bills for his two punctured lungs, broken ribs, dislocated left shoulder, broken clavicle, loss of kidney, laceration of the spleen and six broken vertebrae.

There have been fundraisers held by fellow cyclists as well.

Since the crash, the City of San Diego has implemented changes to signage on the path used by many cyclists.

This includes additional 25 mph signs, directional white arrows at the entrance, one-way directional arrows and wrong-way signs around the island as well as no left turn signs and one-way only signs at the shortcut to a youth camp housed at the island.

The next hearing for Owens was scheduled for February 9.

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