A wrong-way motorist accused of driving under the influence of meth and hitting and injuring multiple cyclists on Fiesta Island in San Diego was found with a baggie of meth hidden in her vagina, a deputy district attorney said Friday.
Theresa L. Owens, looking disheveled and distraught, pleaded not guilty at her arraignment on a charge of felony DUI with injury and possession of a controlled substance.
“Tell them I’m so sorry,” she whispered to her attorney once the judge ordered her bail and set her next court hearing.
Bail was set at $300,000, though Deputy District Attorney Jessica Coto had requested $500,000 bail because of the seriousness of the injuries and the number of people hurt in the crash. Owens’ attorney had requested $200,000 bail, indicating that was the standard amount for those charges.
San Diego police said Owens was driving her vehicle on Fiesta Island Road around 6:30 p.m. Tuesday when her car struck about 10 cyclists in a larger group finishing up a training ride.
Six people went to the hospital with injuries, including Juan Carlos Vinolo, who was paralyzed and remains in critical condition.
New details emerged at the hearing.
Coto said Owens was acting “erratically” after the crash and was screaming, running around and rambling. When she was checked out at the hospital, a nurse found a bag of meth hidden in her vagina, leading to the possession charge, Coto said.
Several of the cyclists attended Friday’s arraignment, including Logan Bass, who was clipped by the front end of the car and suffered a contusion to his ribs, road rash on his elbow and a cut on his foot.
“I’m definitely lucky just looking at Juan. That was me for sure if I didn’t react,” he said.
Bass said he normally feels safe on Fiesta Island when he takes part in the weekly Tuesday night cycling runs with the San Diego Bicycling Club.
“This just happened to be an unfortunate night,” he said.
If convicted, Owens could face a maximum punishment 12 years and eight months in prison.