Found on UT San Diego and written by Susan Shroder
SAN DIEGO — A 43-year-old man who was one of eight cyclists struck by a suspected drunken driver Tuesday night at Fiesta Island remains hospitalized in critical condition with life-threatening injuries, including a broken spine, a relative said Thursday.
The rider, Juan Carlos Vinolo, also lost one kidney and has collapsed lungs, broken ribs and a lacerated spleen, his brother-in-law, Juan Irarragorri, said from UCSD Medical Center.
Vinolo has five crushed vertebrae. It is unknown if he will walk again, but “we have to be hopeful,” Irarragorri said. “He has many, many injuries, and very grave injuries,” he said.
He said the family is trying to stay positive.
“It requires acceptance, faith and support and courage to adjust to a new reality,” Irarragorri said.
On the fundraising site gofundme.com, family friend Martha Sheridan said Vinolo saw the car approach and edged another cyclist out of its path.
Vinolo is married with a 4-year-old son and a 6-year-old daughter. He works as an account manager for a trade agent, his brother-in-law said.
The driver of the car, Theresa Lynn Owens, 49, 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 is scheduled to be arraigned at 1:30 p.m. Friday in San Diego Superior Court.
Six of the cyclists were taken to hospitals, and two were treated at the scene following the incident about 6:30 p.m.
One of the injured cyclists, Joel Price, said the car came “out of the blue” around the curve, and several cyclists in the front of the group were struck head-on. Price was thrown over the handlebars of his bike.
Irarragorri said his brother-in-law was in the front of the group.
Price described the aftermath like a “mini-explosion,” with bikes ripped apart, including Vinolo’s.
About 20 riders were in the group, which gathers every Tuesday night to ride at Fiesta Island.
Donations to help the family with medical expenses can be made atwww.gofundme.com/d1nuf8.