Former Bachelor reality star Chris Soules was involved in a fatal motor vehicle accident and subsequently arrested.
Soules’ pickup rear-ended a tractor near Aurora, a northeast Iowa town located about 15 miles south of Soules’ farm in Arlington and 65 miles north of Iowa City. Both vehicles were sent into roadside ditches.
Chris Soules called 911 from the scene of a fatal crash and told the dispatcher he had hit a man on a tractor, according to the released audio.
The female dispatcher asked who is injured and Soules replied “the man on the tractor.” The dispatcher asked if the tractor was in the ditch and if the man was thrown into the ditch, and Soules said yes.
“He’s not conscious,” said Soules, who identified himself on the call when asked by the dispatcher.
The tractor driver was identified as Kenneth E. Mosher, 66. He lived on his family farm near the crash site. He was taken after the crash by ambulance to Mercy Hospital in Oelwein, where he was pronounced dead. He had been a resident of Aurora, a town of fewer than 200 people, for much of his life.
The dispatcher is heard on the recording requesting a Mercy ambulance to be sent to the 1000 block of Slater Avenue.
Asked if the victim was breathing, Soules says he could not tell and later says he “doesn’t appear to be.”
The dispatcher at one point asks Soules if he knows CPR, and he responds he doesn’t.
Soules can be heard asking other people at the scene if they know CPR. Later, a person on the recording can be heard counting out what sounds like CPR.
Later, Soules says, “I feel a pulse, yeah, he’s got a pulse,” Soules said.
He then asks the dispatcher: “You guys are on your way?”
“I’m going to stay on the line with you,” she replied. “We have law enforcement, medical en route to you.”
Soules assures the dispatcher that the vehicles around have their flashers on and the recording ends with Soules asking the dispatcher if he can call her back “really quick.”
Soules eventually left the crash scene by walking north and getting into another vehicle, which drove away, said Sgt. Scott Bright, spokesman for Iowa State Patrol. Soules was taken into custody hours later at his home, about six miles away from the crash scene in rural Arlington.
Bright said he does not know who drove Soules from the crash scene, and the case remains under investigation by the sheriff’s office.
Although Soules called 911 and clearly offered to help before leaving the crash scene, Bright said the fact that he left is still a crime, from a law enforcement perspective.
“He left the scene. He stopped to assist, but then he just walked away,” Bright said. “He still left the scene of a fatality accident.”
The criminal charge was filed by the Buchanan County Attorney’s Office.
Soules’ lawyer Brandon Brown “asked that members of the public do not prejudge this case based on media coverage” in a statement released Thursday, adding: “Soules’ 911 call, released yesterday, proved that the initial knee-jerk coverage of this accident was incorrect.”
“While initial reports suggested Soules fled the scene, the 911 call confirms that Soules in fact was the one who contacted law enforcement immediately,” his legal team said in a statement.
“During the call, he clearly identified himself and explained his role in the terrible accident. Soules attempted to resuscitate Mr. Mosher and remained on the scene with him until emergency medical personnel arrived. Soules’ attorneys are exploring the possibility of a gag order to prevent further misinformation from prejudicing Soules’ right to a fair trial.”
The statement also said Soules’ legal team is working to gather all of the evidence and review the facts of the crash. “His attorneys are confident that once all the evidence is made public, it will show Soules acted reasonably and did everything in his power to provide aid to Mr. Mosher.”
A preliminary hearing is set for May 2. If convicted of the felony charge against him, Soules could be sentenced to as much as five years in prison under Iowa law.
Soules was friendly with Mosher. “Everyone around here is in shock,” Richard Roepke, a relative of Mosher said. “He knew them, they’re neighbors. We’re feeling very sad, everyone knows Chris’ family.”
After his stints on the “Bachelor”, Soules later competed on “Dancing with the Stars” and the seventh season of Food Network’s “Worst Cooks in America.”
Soules has continued to be a public figure and advocate for agriculture issues.