Woman charged in hit-and-run death of San Antonio surgeon asks court for her BMW back

Prosecutors claim car will be used as trial evidence

SAN ANTONIO – A 2015 BMW that struck and killed a San Antonio surgeon while he was riding his bicycle in February 2019 was the focus of a remote hearing Wednesday in the 226th District Court.

The lawyer for Melissa Peoples, the woman accused of driving the car while she was drunk, filed a motion asking that the vehicle be returned to her. The lawyer, Demetrio Duarte, told the judge that Peoples should get the car back because she has been making payments on it since the incident that claimed the life of Naji Kayruz along Interstate 10.

“I think it’s pretty clear that Mrs. Peoples should get her car back unless the State of Texas wants to be making the payment,” Duarte told the judge.

But prosecutors testified that they plan to use the car as demonstrative evidence in Peoples’ trial.

”The car, itself, is the instrument of the crime, and to give the car, or instrument of the crime back to the defendant, is the same as releasing a gun or a knife back to the defendant,” prosecutor Clayton Haden said.

Judge Velia Meza denied Duarte’s motion.

Peoples remains free on bond while she awaits trial on intoxication manslaughter and failure to stop and render aid charges.

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About the Authors:

Paul Venema is a courthouse reporter for KSAT with more than 25 years experience in the role.

Sal Salazar is a photojournalist at KSAT 12. Before coming to KSAT in 1998, he worked at the Fox affiliate in San Antonio. Sal started off his career back in 1995 for the ABC Affiliate in Lubbock and has covered many high-profile news events since. In his free time, he enjoys spending time at home, gaming and loves traveling with his wife.