By Daniel Montes, Bay City News
A driver accused of being drunk when he crashed into another car in San Francisco on Monday morning, killing the other car’s driver, pleaded not guilty to murder on Wednesday.
Michael Khoury, 39, appeared in court for the first time to face the murder charge, as well as charges of driving while under the influence and gross vehicular manslaughter.
Khoury is accused of crashing his Chevrolet truck into a Nissan sedan around 3 a.m. Monday at Park Presidio Boulevard and California Street.
The impact killed the Nissan’s driver, identified by the medical examiner’s office as 56-year-old Alexander Reyes of San Rafael.
Both Khoury and a 26-year-old man who was in the passenger’s seat of the Chevy suffered injuries not considered life-threatening.
During his arraignment, Khoury’s attorney, Deputy Public Defender Alexandra Pray called the fatal collision a “terrible, tragic accident.” Assistant District Attorney Michael Swart asked Judge Rita Lin to keep Khoury in custody without bail, citing a 2009 conviction in Nevada for committing sexual acts in public and a 2010 DUI in San Jose.
Lin ultimately decided to set bail for Khoury at $500,000, with the condition that he be placed on house arrest with electronic monitoring. He’ll also be barred from drinking and/or driving.
According to court documents, early in morning on the day of the collision, Khoury was speeding on California Street when he broadsided the Nissan, which was traveling on Park Presidio Boulevard.
The impact sent the Nissan down the street and crushed the car’s passenger side.
When emergency personnel and officers arrived at the scene, Khoury allegedly initially admitted to driving but said he hadn’t been drinking.
Khoury then recanted, saying he wasn’t driving, even though a witness and the passenger in his truck both said he was the truck’s driver, according to court documents.
Officers at the scene noted that he appeared intoxicated and allegedly had a slight smell of alcohol on his breath. Officers also found multiple open containers of alcohol inside the truck, according to court documents.
Khoury is set to return to court on July 11.