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Woman pleads not guilty after crash hurts cyclists

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Crime,California

SAN DIEGO (AP) — A driver charged with plowing into a group of cyclists, leaving one paralyzed, while she was under the influence of drugs pleaded not guilty Friday.

Theresa Lynn Owens, 49, was ordered to remain jailed on $300,000 bail and mouthed the words "I'm so sorry" before she was led away, U-T San Diego (http://bit.ly/1uCX6C3) reported.

Owens could face up to 12 years and eight months in prison if convicted of drug possession and driving under the influence of drugs.

Prosecutors say Owens was driving the wrong way Tuesday evening on a road on Fiesta Island in Mission Bay when she collided head-on with 10 bicyclists on a curve.

Six riders were taken to hospitals. The most seriously injured was Juan Carlos Vinolo, who was thrown onto the roof of the car and probably will be permanently paralyzed from the waist down, Deputy District Attorney Jessica Coto said.

Vinolo, a 43-year-old married father of two, suffered a broken spine, collapsed lung, broken ribs, lacerated spleen and lost one kidney, his brother-in-law, Juan Irarragorri, told the newspaper.

Another cyclist shattered the windshield and has a broken arm.

After the crash, the driver left the car and began "screaming, running around and rambling," Coto said.

A baggie of methamphetamine was found concealed in a body cavity, Coto said.

The bicyclists were part of a group of about 20 that meets weekly for an informal ride, the newspaper said. Several attended the arraignment, including Logan Bass, 26, whose arm was bandaged because his elbow was badly scraped in the accident.

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