La Jolla man struck by wrong-way car on Fiesta Island, critically injured in bicycle accident

Juan Carlos Vinolo and his family.

■ Fundraising page set up to assist with medical expenses

By Ashley Mackin

Juan Carlos Vinolo of La Jolla is one of the 10 cyclists injured during an Aug. 12 accident about 6:30 p.m. on Fiesta Island, when a suspected drunk driver drove the wrong way down a one-way street and struck them. Vinolo’s injuries were the most severe. He is married with two young children.
Juan Carlos Vinolo and his family.

U-T San Diego reports Vinolo is in critical condition with life-threatening injuries, including a broken spine. Vinolo lost one kidney and has collapsed lungs, broken ribs, five crushed vertebrae and a lacerated spleen. He is being treated at UCSD’s Hillcrest medical center and is partially paralyzed.

A GoFundMe fundraising page has been established to assist with medical expenses:

The post states that if Vinolo survives, he will likely be paralyzed from the chest down. The latest update (as of La Jolla Light’s press time) indicated he woke up with pneumonia on Aug. 18. The GoFundMe page further explains Vinolo was one of 20 cyclists on the road (considered “an especially safe place to ride” by cyclists), and he “saw the driver approach the peloton and edged off another cyclist out of harm’s way. Juan Carlos Vinolo paid a heavy price for his heroic act.”

The driver of the car, Theresa Lynn Owens, was arrested on suspicion of felony driving under the influence, being under the influence of a controlled substance and possession of a controlled substance. She pleaded not guilty Aug. 15 in San Diego Superior Court and was ordered to remain jailed on $300,000 bail. Owens could face up to 12 years and eight months in prison if convicted of drug possession and driving under the influence of drugs. A cavity search of Owens’ person later uncovered methamphetamines.