Fiesta Island bike ride in honor of injured cyclist - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Fiesta Island bike ride in honor of injured cyclist

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    Friday, August 15 2014 11:34 PM EDT2014-08-16 03:34:31 GMT
    A woman who was allegedly on drugs when she drove into a group of cyclists on Fiesta Island, critically injuring one rider, pleaded not guilty Friday to felony charges of driving under the influence of a controlled substance and possession of methamphetamine. 
    A woman who was allegedly on drugs when she drove into a group of cyclists on Fiesta Island, critically injuring one rider, pleaded not guilty Friday to felony charges of driving under the influence of a controlled substance and possession of methamphetamine. 
SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - More than 1,000 bicyclists converged on Fiesta Island Tuesday evening to show their support for a biker who was critically injured last week.

Juan Carlos Vinolo was riding as part of a group of cyclists turning a blind curve last Tuesday evening on Fiesta Island when an alleged wrong way driver plowed into the riders. Six of the riders were sent to the hospital, including Vinolo. Family members say he was paralyzed from the chest down, and remains in critical condition at UCSD Medical Center in Hillcrest.

"It's day to day right now, unfortunately," said Juan Pablo Romano, Vinolo's nephew, who spoke before Tuesday's massive ride. "It means the world for me and my family: this is exactly what we need."

San Diego's mayor Kevin Faulconer and police chief Shelley Zimmerman led the stream of cyclists as they completed two laps around the island.

"Tonight, you represent the best of who we are as San Diegans, sending a very strong message," Faulconer told the hundreds of bikers before they started off.

"Its a grim reminder, what happened here last Tuesday, that a life can be changed in just an instant," Zimmerman said, adding, "make no mistake: what happened last Tuesday was not an accident. It was a crime."

Charged with that crime is 49-year-old Theresa Owens, who has pleaded not guilty to driving under the influence, among other charges. She faces 12 years in state prison if convicted.

A fund has been set up to help Juan Carlos Vinolo and his family cope with mounting medical bills. For more information, go to
http://www.gofundme.com/d1nuf8

Some of the footage used in the above video report was shot using a GoPro camera.

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