Two residents from California, MO were recently arrested on drug charges after authorities investigated a fatal crash in Moniteau County.

According to the Moniteau County Sheriff's Department, deputies responded to a fatal vehicle crash on September 25, just west of California on Highway 50.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol reported three vehicles involved in the wreck.

While on scene, authorities were notified by EMS and fire personnel that the occupants of one of the vehicles kept asking about a black bag that they had with them. According to the press release, the occupants seemed "very concerned" about the contents of the bag.

Deputies located the black bag and reportedly detected a strong odor of marijuana coming from it. Deputies searched the bag, which had a "substantial amount" of methamphetamine in it. Along with meth, the search also revealed marijuana, digital scales, and packaging materials used to distribute drugs.

The items were seized and the occupants of the vehicle, 22-year old Joshua J. Kirchner and 21-year old Abigail M. Heiland, both of California, MO, were treated for moderate injuries. Both were later arrested.

Kirchner and Heiland both face charges of Distribution of a Controlled Substance. Each had a bond of $75,000.00.

Another driver involved was identified as 29-year old Jose F. Perez, of Jefferson City. He suffered serious injuries and was treated at University Hospital. Perez was later charged with DWI and not having a valid license.

The deceased was identified as 60-year old Steven Smart, of Tebbetts, MO.


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