SAN DIEGO – The family of a critically injured San Diego bicyclist expressed their gratitude to the community Thursday.
“Your support has helped us tell our story to the world,” said Emma Irarragorri, wife of Juan Carlos Vinolo.
Vinolo was one of 10 bicyclists hit by a vehicle while riding on Fiesta Island on August 12.
San Diego police investigators said 49-year-old Theresa Owens was high on meth when was driving the wrong way on Fiesta Island and crashed into the group.
“It has been a really difficult week. Juan Carlos has been in a critical condition since the accident, he’s still in ICU,” said Irarragorri.
Vinolo suffered multiple injuries, including broken ribs, a lacerated spleen, he lost a kidney and doctors said if he survives, he will be paralyzed from chest down.
Emma said her husband is awake and alert, but can’t speak because he is on a respirator. He is communicating through writing and through his eyes.
“He has shown a positive attitude and is reminding me why I fell in love with him,” said Emma. “I didn’t expect all this kindness of people. We’re very touched.”
On Tuesday evening, more than 1,000 bicyclists converged on Fiesta Island in support of Vinolo. San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman led the stream of cyclists on two laps around the island.
“He got to see the videos. He was very moved,” said Irarragorri.
“He wants to say thank you for your messages, your donations, but most of all for your prayers,” said Emma. “He’s fighting for his life and he’s going to make it.”
The Vinolo family has set up a fundraising website and has received more than $100,000 in donations.