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Passengers say driver charged with manslaughter hit victim before crashing car in Buckner, Mo.

Matthew Hepting's booking photo from the Jackson County Detention Center.

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — Prosecutors charged a 24-year-old Independence man with involuntary manslaughter on Thursday for a deadly crash that happened months ago. Suspect Matthew Hepting is also charged with two counts of DWI – serious physical injury for a crash that happened during the early morning hours of February 7.

Court records say Hepting was driving a Pontiac G6 near Blue Mills Road and Buckner Tarnsey when the crash happened. Investigators say the car skidded more than 250 feet off of the road and struck a tree after he was traveling at excessive speeds and hit an embankment.

Juanita H. Hanna, 21 at the time of the crash, died at the scene. Two other passengers were injured and had multiple broken bones; one had a broken femur and broken vertebrae in her lower back, the other also had a broken femur as well as eight broken ribs and a broken tail bone.

Hepting was life-flighted to Research Medical Center, a toxicology report revealed a positive presence of amphetamines, benzodiazepines, and cannabinoids.

The injured passengers told police that Hepting was driving fast, one said she saw the speedometer over 100 miles per hour.

They also said that Hepting and Hanna were arguing in the moments leading up to the crash, and that Hepting hit her in the face with the back of his hand once, and then did it again after she told him to slow down.

Hepting is under arrest and in custody at the Jackson County Detention Center. Prosecutors have requested a $100,000 bond.