Wrong-Way Driver Hits Group of Cyclists on Fiesta Island

One of the cyclists struck called Fiesta Island one of the safest places to ride in San Diego

A car plowed into a group of bicyclists on Fiesta Island Tuesday evening, sending six people to the hospital.

Brandon Ewers of Del Mar was in a lead position and would've been in the line of impact if his buddy hadn't pushed him out of the way.

"I went three or four flips into the grass," he said.

His friend, however, was one of two cyclists who went flying into the car's windshield.

“He said he couldn’t feel his legs," Ewers said. "That’s scary."

San Diego police said a woman was driving the wrong way along Fiesta Island Road around 6:30 p.m. Tuesday when her car drove into a group of about 30 bicyclists.

The woman, Theresa Lynn Owens, 49, was arrested and faces charges of driving under the influence and possession of a controlled substance.

Witnesses said one cyclist suffered a broken facial bone and another suffered a punctured lung.

The two cyclists who hit the windshield were pinned in the glass, officers said.

“I heard them screeching on wheels and then everybody hit," said cyclist Joel Price of Clairemont. "I went over the handle bars and landed on top of the other guys." His bike was damaged and he suffered scrapes and bruises.

NBC 7’s Omari Fleming reports on the crash Tuesday evening that injured several members of a cycling club and the investigation into what prompted the driver to travel the wrong way on Fiesta Island.

Cyclist Juan Barrintos sustained injuries to his arm, knee and ankle and told NBC 7 the crash happened very quickly. All he remembers is all of the cyclists falling on top of him, sending him to the ground.

The bandaged and bruised cyclist was at the head of the pack of riders who were out training as part of weekly gathering of cyclists on Fiesta Island.

He said the driver was traveling the wrong way at approximately 30 to 40 mph in a 10 to 15 mph zone.

Her reaction after the crash was unusual.

“She was just acting really crazy,” Barrintos said.

Most are members of the San Diego Bicycle Club and they meet every Tuesday to ride about 30 miles. The group was just finishing their final laps when the collision happened.

Ewers said the group gathers in Fiesta Island to avoid what he called "drama" with drivers on city streets.

"It's sad because we come here to get off the roads," he said.

Price called Fiesta Island one of the safest places to ride in San Diego.

"People need to be careful," he said. "Someone making a poor judgment, driving on the wrong side of the road and this is what happens."

Ewers questioned whether the crash will change the club's routine.

"It's sad we may not carry this ride on anymore," Ewers said. "We're going to be riding differently for sure." 

However, other cyclists said they won’t let the wreck discourage them.

“It’s the sport that we want and what we like. I’m going to keep pushing. I’m training for a triathlon that is coming in two weeks," Barrintos said.

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