A San Luis Obispo man accused of manslaughter fled a Morro Bay car crash on foot in April, leaving a dead young woman and a drug kit, a CHP search warrant states.
The CHP warrant sought to search data relating to personal communications on four cellphones and two iPods seized from the vehicle that Michael Alan Kessler, 36, allegedly was driving.
The CHP also wanted to look into Kessler’s MySpace account for additional details about his background.
Kessler has pleaded not guilty to criminal charges related to the April 18 car crash that killed 27-year-old Cayucos resident Ashley Elizabeth Malmen.
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Kessler was driving a rented Toyota Yaris when the wreck occurred about 2:14 a.m. on Highway 1 near the South Bay Boulevard exit, CHP officials said.
The silver Yaris struck a road sign marker to the right of the highway, veered left and then struck the center concrete wall and rolled. Malmen, who was riding in the passenger seat, was thrown from the car and onto the roadway. She wasn’t wearing a seatbelt. The warrant states that a driver of another car stopped and turned around. The witness saw Kessler start to walk around the vehicle before leaving on foot.
CHP officials searched the crashed Toyota and found checks and tax returns in Kessler’s name.
About 3:26 a.m., a Morro Bay police officer found Kessler at Chorro Creek Road and Quintana Road in Morro Bay.
Kessler admitted to using heroin, according to the warrant. Kessler’s pulse and blood pressure were elevated. CHP officials said his behavior fluctuated from lethargy and sedation to rage.
The vehicle also contained a small black zippered case, which officers referred to as a “hype kit.”
The so-called hype kit consisted of three hypodermic needles and a spoon “commonly used for cooking drugs.” They also found a scale — which can be used to calculate weights of narcotics.
Jeffrey and Cyndi Malmen previously told The Tribune that they last spoke to their daughter about 11 p.m. April 17, when she said she was going to bed. Shortly before the crash, one of Ashley Malmen’s brothers saw her at Jack in the Box in San Luis Obispo and thought she was headed home.
“I thought she was home asleep,” Cyndi Malmen said. “It was not her practice to go out in the middle of the night.”
Update on Michael Kessler’s case
Michael Alan Kessler, 36, has pleaded not guilty to felony charges of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated; hit and run causing death; and possession of methamphetamine. He also pleaded not guilty to the misdemeanors of possession of marijuana and driving with a suspended license after a prior driving-under-the-influence conviction. His next appearance in San Luis Obispo Superior Court is scheduled for July 9 before Judge Jacquelyn Duffy.