Chris Soules charged with felony in deadly hit-and-run
AURORA, Ia. — A Buchanan County farmer driving his tractor along a county road was fatally injured Monday, authorities said, when a pickup truck driven by reality television star Chris Soules struck him from behind.
Soules, 35, walked away from the scene about a mile north of Aurora and was picked up by an unidentified person, said Iowa State Patrol Sgt. Scott Bright. He was taken into custody a couple of hours later at his home, about six miles away in rural Arlington. He has been charged with leaving the scene of a deadly crash, a Class D felony in Iowa.
Authorities said Soules — best known as the star of a season of ABC's "The Bachelor" — had alcoholic beverages or containers with him, but they said they were still investigating whether he was impaired.
The tractor driver was identified Tuesday 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.
He stopped in at Aurora Elevator Inc. regularly to check the grain markets and do business, part-owner David Young said.
“We feel that pretty hard,” Young said. “He was a good guy.”
Mosher was married to his high school sweetheart, Nancy, and the couple had two sons, Young said.
He was a Vietnam-era military veteran and American Legion member, Young said, adding that he was a laid-back guy and well-known face in the town and member of the Aurora Community Club.
“He loved being a farmer and he liked the time off to go golfing in the summertime,” Young said.
The county sheriff's office got a call at about 8:20 p.m. Monday about the crash, Deputy Cory Hartmann, who responded to the scene, said Monday night. It wasn't clear Tuesday who called 911.
"The Bachelor" star Chris Soules has been accused of leaving the scene of a deadly crash, according to the Buchanan County Jail. Listen to audio obtained by the Register during the incident Monday night.
Soules was booked into the Buchanan County Jail at 1:16 a.m.
According to video footage from television station KWWL, Buchanan County Assistant Attorney Jenalee Zaputil said in Soules' first court appearance Tuesday that Soules would not come out of the house to be arrested until a search warrant had been obtained and that that process took "hours."
Soules' 2008 Chevy pickup was southbound on Buchanan County Road W45, which is also called Slater Avenue, when it rear-ended a 2640 John Deere tractor, according to the crash report.
The tractor rolled into the east ditch, and the truck went into the west ditch, the report says.
Soules was not hurt in the crash. Bright said Soules left the crash scene on foot headed north. It wasn't known who picked him up. Asked whether that person could be criminally charged, Bright said that the Buchanan County Attorney's Office would make that decision.
Bright said he did not believe there were passengers in the truck.
Both vehicles were taken from the site by Roadside Towing of Winthrop.
The crash remains under investigation.
"Bachelor" star Chris Soules has been accused of leaving the scene of a deadly crash, according to the Buchanan County Jail.
Mosher's neighbor LaVerne Lentz said the community is in "utter shock" after losing "a good citizen" who took pride in his farm and had been working in the fields just hours before the crash.
"He had been a farmer for years, and he did an excellent job," Lentz said.
Lentz waved at Mosher as his neighbor passed on his tractor Monday night, Lentz said.
"It caught us all by surprise," he said.
Geilenfeld Funeral Home in Oelwein is handling Mosher's funeral arrangements, an employee said.
Soules' family declined to comment through his former publicist .
A few people who answered the door at his home Tuesday afternoon told a reporter to leave. "It's a sad day for everyone," a woman in the group said.
Soules had his first court appearance Tuesday morning at the Buchanan County Courthouse.
Soules' mother, Linda, posted his $10,000 bond at 11:37 a.m. Tuesday, court records show, and a jail employee confirmed that he was out of custody around noon. A preliminary hearing is set for 1:30 p.m. 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.
Court documents say West Des Moines-based attorney Mary K. Spellman will represent Soules.
The documents also say that while out of jail, Soules is not allowed to leave Iowa without written consent from the court. He is also subject to electronic monitoring.
The Buchanan County Sheriff’s Office was assisted in the crash response and investigation by the Iowa State Patrol, Fayette County Sheriff’s Office, Aurora Fire Department and Oelwein Mercy Ambulance Service.
Soules appeared on the 10th season of ABC’s "The Bachelorette" in 2014 and was selected in early 2015 for the 19th season of "The Bachelor."
The farmer brought his hometown of Arlington into the national spotlight as he starred in the dating reality show.
He later competed on “Dancing with the Stars” and the seventh season of Food Network's "Worst Cooks in America." Since his turn on TV, Soules has continued to be a public figure and advocate for agriculture issues.
Soules was most recently seen in Iowa at the ceremony honoring fellow Iowan Ashton Kutcher with the Robert D. Ray Pillar of Character Award, an annual honor given by Drake University to “individuals who demonstrate good character as a role model.”
“It’s a sad deal all the way around,” said Mary Jo Brown, Arlington’s city clerk. “It’s a tragic accident and I feel bad for the family that lost someone last night, and also for Chris and his family.”
Arlington mayor Dan Handel echoed Brown’s sentiment: “It’s just very sad news, because I knew the guy that got killed. He was a local farmer and a very good person. He was definitely someone who would be willing to help you with anything if you were in need.”
"It’s just pretty devastating to have this happen in our area, in our town.”
Soules was convicted of drunken driving in 2005. He also in his 20s was charged with other alcohol violations and minor crimes.