Chris Soules, the reality television lawyer, is negotiating with prosecutors a possible agreement to resolve his accusation of leaving the scene of an accident.
Zachary Boyden-Holmes, DesMoines
Chris Soules, the famous television reality show in Iowa, is prepared to avoid a trial in connection with a fatal accident last year in northeast Iowa, after pleading guilty to a reduced charge on Tuesday.
In conjunction with the guilty plea, the defense attorneys claimed that the Soules farm tractor hit while driving his truck, fatally wounding Aurora's 66-year-old Kenny Mosher, who was poorly lit. The lawyers also revealed new information about the injuries Soules suffered.
The night collision in April 2017 triggered more than 18 months of high profile legal proceedings, in which the tabloids documented Soules' appearances in an Independence courthouse. a television reporter accused of a crime for recording a video inside a courtroom, and the arguments of Soules' lawyers that an Iowa law was unconstitutional.
Soules, the star of Season 19 of ABC's "The Bachelor," was originally charged with a felony for leaving the scene of a fatal accident.
He pleaded guilty on Tuesday to leave the scene of a personal injury accident, which is an aggravated misdemeanor. Instead of a sentence of up to five years in prison, Soules now faces up to two years in his sentence on January 8. You also have the ability to withdraw your guilty plea if a judge does not accept the plea agreement you signed with prosecutors.
In an affidavit filed Tuesday, Soules' attorney Brandon Brown said neither Soules nor an independent witness to the accident saw lights on Mosher's tractor before the collision. According to the law, the tractor would have been required to show blinking amber lights, according to the affidavit.
Soules, 36, was later diagnosed with a concussion as a result of the accident, Brown said. Even though his airbag deployed, "it did not stop Mr. Soules from hitting his head against the windshield with such force that it broke."
In his signed statement, Soules acknowledged that he did not provide the registration number of his vehicle for shipment to 911 or the police, as required by Iowa law.
In his sentence, Soules will be free to request a deferred sentence or suspended sentence, which would allow him to avoid imprisonment and possibly eliminate the charge of his registration.
Judge Andrea Dryer ordered that a routine investigation report be completed prior to sentencing before the Soules ruling.
Soules appeared in "The Bachelor" in 2015, where his roots as a farmer in the rural area of Arlington, Iowa, played a prominent role and earned him the nickname of "Prince Farming".
Mosher, who was riding a tractor without a closed cab, was driving as slow as 6 miles per hour, says Brown's affidavit. Soules was driving his truck below the 55 mph speed limit, and Brown said the experts concluded that Soules acted reasonably given the circumstances.
"Mr. Soules found himself in an inevitable accident," Brown's affidavit states.
Soules called 911 and administered CPR until the compressions caused the blood to flow out of Mosher's mouth. He stayed on scene until the paramedics arrived and directed them to Mosher, then left several minutes later. Mosher was taken to a local hospital and later died.
After the accident, four other individuals arrived on the scene "almost immediately," according to court documents.
"No one, not even people who knelt near Mr. Soules while he administered CPR, smelled alcohol or believed that Mr. Soules had been drinking," Brown's affidavit states.
Soules' lawyers argued throughout the legal process that a trial would irreparably damage his reputation as a public figure. They also said that the law that Soules was accused of violating was not valid because it compromised the constitutional rights of any of the accused. Earlier this year, they unsuccessfully appealed to the Iowa Supreme Court to handle the case before it went to trial. Last month they said publicly that they were negotiating a guilty plea.
Neither Soules' lawyers nor Buchanan County attorney Shawn Harden commented on Tuesday. Mosher's family has refused to speak with reporters since the accident.
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