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Woman's plea deal: 15-year prison sentence after fatally striking bicyclist in 2019

She's accused of intoxication manslaughter after running into a well-known surgeon who was riding a bicycle in the Dominion area northwest of San Antonio.

SAN ANTONIO — A San Antonio woman arrested and accused of hitting a bicyclist with her SUV entered into a plea agreement in court Tuesday.

Melissa Peoples faces charges of intoxication manslaughter and failure to stop and render aid after an accident in February 2019 in the Dominion area.

She entered pleas of guilty and no contest and will receive a 15-year prison sentence. Formal sentencing will be held Dec. 14.

Bexar County court documents say Peoples was drunk behind the wheel when she struck 58-year-old Naji Tanios Kayruz on the road and kept on driving.

Kayruz, who was a well-known surgeon at Metropolitan Methodist Hospital, died at the scene, and Peoples' SUV was later located with the public's help after someone noticed the front end was wrecked.

A DWI officer later arrived and “determined the suspect to have been impaired,” according to court records.

The CEO of Metropolitan Methodist Hospital, Greg Seiler, released the following statement in 2019 after Kayruz's death:

“The sudden passing of our dear friend and colleague, Dr. Naji Kayruz, is a tremendous loss for the staff at Metropolitan Methodist Hospital, as well as the medical community. For the last 27 years, Dr. Kayruz has shown our patients immense compassion and has treated our staff with respect and kindness, earning the trust of our team. So much so that some staff members became his surgical patients in their time of need. Dr. Kayruz was like family, as was his wife, Sandra, and his son, Anthony... Dr. Kayruz was known for his dry sense of humor and for his love of running and cycling, a hobbies he often used to bring awareness to important causes as a part of numerous fundraisers. Our staff is distraught and we pray for his family that God gives them strength at this difficult time.”

Meanwhile, Kayruz's son, Anthony, and his wife, Sandra, told KENS 5 at the time that they were grieving for a beloved husband, father and community member. 

"He dedicated his life to serving others, both in his profession and in the household. He cared for his friends and his family so deeply and humbly," the family's statement reads. "He lived a life of virtue. We can only try to emulate his example."

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