Woman accused of hitting cyclists to get 2nd mental evaluation
SAN DIEGO — A psychiatrist determined that a woman who was allegedly on drugs when she drove into a group of cyclists on Fiesta Island, critically injuring one rider, is mentally competent to stand trial, but a judge Monday agreed to a defense request for a second evaluation.
Theresa Owens, 49, is charged with driving under the influence of a controlled substance and possession of methamphetamine.
The defendant allegedly drove the wrong way on a one-way road about 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 12, plowing into a group of 16-20 cyclists, hitting 10 of the riders head-on, according to Deputy District Attorney Jessica Coto.
Owens got out of her car and appeared to be under the influence of drugs, screaming and acting erratically, according to witnesses.
The defendant was taken to a hospital, where a baggie of methamphetamine was found in a body cavity, the prosecutor said.
One of the riders who was struck, 43-year-old Juan Carlos Vinolo, has permanent paralysis from the waist down.
“It’s a very hard reality to accept,” Vinolo told reporters outside the courtroom.
Vinolo, who spent more than 100 days in the hospital, said he is grateful to the cycling community for their emotional and financial support following the accident.
Judge Joseph Brannigan scheduled another hearing for Feb. 9.