Chris Soules pleads not guilty to felony charge stemming from fatal accident, avoids court appearance
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 05/17/2017
Chris Soules has entered a not guilty plea to the felony charge against him of leaving the scene of a fatal accident.
The Season 19 The Bachelor star made his plea of innocence Tuesday on paper rather than in person, waiving his right to an arraignment in open court, People reported.
According to court documents obtained by the magazine, 35-year-old Soules is also requesting a speedy trial and that a trial date be set.
Soules was charged with leaving the scene of a fatal accident when he rear-ended a farm tractor with his pickup truck on April 24 in Iowa, resulting in Kenneth E. Mosher's death in the hospital at age 66.
The Arlington farmer left the accident with another driver -- who could also face charges -- in a different truck, as previously reported by the Associated Press.
Soules was arrested at his home several hours later, around 1AM on April 25, after he allegedly refused to come outside and police were forced to obtain a search warrant. Soules was released from jail that same day when his mother Linda Soules posted his $10,000 bond.
Earlier this week, an Iowa judge denied Soules' motion to dismiss his Class D felony charge that could carry a five-year prison sentence if convicted, Us Weekly reported.
Court documents reportedly reveal that Soules' May 1 dismissal request is considered "by the court to be procedurally moot."
Soules' lawyers filed the motion claiming the reality TV star had fulfilled his legal obligations by calling 911 after the crash, identifying himself as being involved in the accident and remaining at the scene until emergency responders arrived.
Soules' legal team alleged "it is indisputable that Mr. Soules has not violated" Iowa Code regarding personal injury crashes, according to The Des Moines Register.
"The only permissible reasons for which [Soules] could leave the scene of the accident in the first place was to seek necessary aid or report the accident to law enforcement authorities... [He] did neither," the prosecution reportedly argued in a May 2 reply.
Prosecutors have also pointed out open alcoholic containers were discovered in and around Soules' truck at the time of the crash that were allegedly purchased at a convenience store "shortly before" he rear-ended a John Deere farm tractor.
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Prosecutors claimed earlier this month that Soules did not provide an explanation for such beverages.
In addition to starring onThe Bachelor's 19th season, Soules also competed for Andi Dorfman onThe Bachelorette's tenth season as well as Season 20 of Dancing with the Stars and the Food Network's Worst Cooks in America: Celebrity Edition.
Soules previously told Entertainment Tonight he'd consider a stint on Bachelor in Paradise 4 this summer, but he's currently unable to leave the country and remains under supervision and electronic monitoring.