Chris Soules competing on the The Bachelor,’ in 2015. (ABC/Lewis Jacobs)
It’s very clear that Iowa investigators are trying to build a case, alleging that former “Bachelor” star Chris Soules had been drinking before his pickup crashed into a tractor trailer on the night of April 24, leading to the death of a 66-year-old farmer.
On Monday, prosecutors in Buchanan County filed documents alleging that Soules bought beer at a convenience store right before he got behind the wheel of his pickup and that he was possibly drinking at the time of the crash, KCRG, the ABC affiliate in Cedar Rapids, Iowa reported. The documents also show there were empty alcohol containers and partially consumed beverages in and around Soules’ pickup.
Soules, a 35-year-old Iowa farmer who competed on Season 19 of “The Bachelor” in 2015, is already facing charges of leaving the scene of a fatal traffic accident. If convicted of just that offense, which is a Class D felony in Iowa, he faces the possibility of five years in prison, according to an Iowa attorney consulted by the website Hollywood Life.
But if he is found to have been intoxicated at the time of the crash, he’s facing up to 25 years behind bars, the defense attorney Nick Sarcone said.
“Chris may be subjected to a Class D felony, which is the lowest class of felony in Iowa and faces up to a 5 year prison term for fleeing the scene of a fatal car accident. However, if alcohol or drugs are found in his system at the time of the accident he could be in much more trouble,” Sarcone said.
Even if his attorneys succeed in getting him cleared of all criminal charges, he’s still looking at the possibility of a civil suit, which could lead to stiff penalties that could include the loss of his farm and estimated $1.5 million net worth, Sarcone said.
In addition to appearing on “The Bachelor,” “Dancing With the Stars” and other reality TV shows, Soules runs a 5,500 corn and soybean farm in Lamont, Iowa.
Soules was arrested early in the morning of April 25, about five hours after the crash that killed Kenneth Mother, who was an acquaintance of Soules and his family, Hollywood Life said.
Authorities released 911 calls that show Soules called for help and tried to save Mosher’s life by checking for his pulse and asking other unidentified people present if they knew CPR.
But Soules didn’t stick around. He fled in someone else’s truck once police arrived, and was arrested at his home 15 miles from the crash site.
Soules’ attorneys are trying to get the current charges against him dismissed, arguing in documents they filed in court Monday that the 911 call shows that he satisfied the requirements of the law by summing help, identifying himself to a 911 operator and staying until EMTs arrived, TMZ reported.
But prosecutors fired back and said Soules tried to evade the law by leaving the scene of the accident so that he couldn’t questioned about the partially consumed alcoholic beverages that were found in and around his vehicle. Prosecutors add that Soules fleeing the scene made it impossible for officers to determine his “level of intoxication.”
If Soules had been drinking and driving that night, it wouldn’t be the first time he’s been in this kind of trouble. Court documents obtained by Entertainment Tonight and E! News show that Soules was arrested in 2005 for Operating While Intoxicated (Iowa’s term for DUI).