DES MOINES, Iowa — Former “Bachelor” Chris Soules has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of leaving the scene of a personal injury accident, court records show.
Soules appeared on ABC’s “The Bachelor” in 2015, where his roots as a farmer in rural Arlington, Iowa, played a prominent role and earned him the nickname “Prince Farming.” In court documents filed with the guilty plea, his attorneys provided more details about the April 24, 2017 crash that killed 66-year-old Kenny Mosher of Aurora.
In an affidavit, Soules’ attorney, Brandon Brown, said that neither Soules nor another witness to the crash saw any lights on the tractor driven by Mosher prior to the collision. By law, the tractor would have been required to display flashing amber lights, the affidavit states.
Soules, 36, was later diagnosed with a concussion resulting from the crash, Brown said in the affidavit. Even though his airbag deployed, it “did not prevent Mr. Soules from hitting his head on the windshield so hard that it shattered.”
The guilty plea, which was entered Tuesday, lowers the charge against Soules from a felony to an aggravated misdemeanor. Rather than a sentence of up to five years in prison, Soules now faces up to two years at his sentencing on Jan. 8.
He also has the ability to withdraw his guilty plea if a judge does not accept the plea agreement struck with prosecutors.
The amended charge is leaving the scene of an accident resulting in serious injury. At his sentencing, Soules will be free to request a deferred judgment or suspended sentence, which would let him avoid prison time and possibly remove the charge from his record.
Mosher, who was on a tractor without an enclosed cab, was driving as slow as 6 miles per hour, Brown’s affidavit states. Neither Soules nor another witness to the crash saw the tractor display flashing amber lights as required by law.
Soules called 911 and administered CPR until the compressions caused blood to come from Mosher’s mouth. He remained on scene until paramedics arrived and directed them to Mosher, then left several minutes later. Mosher was taken to a local hospital and later died.
In his affidavit, Brown said Soules was driving his truck below the posted 55 mph speed limit. He said experts concluded Soules acted reasonably given the circumstances.
“Mr. Soules found himself in an unavoidable accident,” Brown’s affidavit states.
After the crash, four other individuals arrived at the scene “nearly immediately.”
“No one, even the individuals who knelt in close proximity to Mr. Soules while he administered CPR smelled any alcohol or had any belief Mr. Soules had been drinking,” Brown’s affidavit states.
Soules’ attorneys argued throughout the legal process that a trial would irreparably damage his reputation as a public figure. Earlier this year they unsuccessfully appealed for Iowa Supreme Court to take up the case before it went to trial. Last month they said publicly that they were in the process of negotiating a plea.
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