Victim's family pushes for max sentence for 'Bachelor' Chris Soules after fatal car crash

In 2018, Chris Soules was charged for leaving a scene of a deadly crash.

A judge has delayed sentencing for former Bachelor star Chris Soules for leaving the scene of a fatal 2017 accident.

The decision comes after Judge Andrea Dryer ruled Tuesday that she will disregard letters from the deceased driver’s relatives. Dryer says the wife and sons of Iowa farmer Kenneth Mosher aren’t victims under state law because Soules was not convicted of causing Mosher’s death.

The 37-year-old reality star pleaded guilty to an aggravated misdemeanour for leaving after rear-ending a slow-moving tractor driven by Mosher.

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Mosher’s relatives wrote victim impact statements urging Dryer to impose the maximum sentence of two years in prison.

The letters were included in the Department of Correctional Services’ pre-sentence investigation report.

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Dryer agreed with Soules’ lawyers that the letters should be stricken. She granted a request from both sides calling for a new pre-sentencing report.

Dryer said sentencing won’t take place until the Department of Corrections prepares that report.

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Soules, who was portrayed as a wholesome country boy looking for love on Season 19 of the reality show, was behind the wheel of a pickup truck that rear-ended a tractor in northern Iowa near Aurora in April 2017, the Iowa State Patrol said.

The crash caused the tractor to roll and go into a ditch on one side of the road, while Soules’ truck went into a ditch on the other side, the patrol said. The tractor driver was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead. The patrol identified him as Mosher, a farmer from Aurora.

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Soules wasn’t injured in the accident and left the area before emergency responders arrived, the Buchanan County Sheriff’s Office said. He was arrested later at his home in Arlington, which is about 10 miles (16 kilometres) north of Aurora, and 75 miles (120 kilometres) north of Iowa City.

Authorities said someone had called 911 to report the crash, but they didn’t release the identity of the caller or audio of the call. Investigators spoke to multiple witnesses and determined that Soules caused the crash and fled, according to a complaint, which doesn’t name the witnesses.

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Police audio of the incident obtained by the Des Moines Register shows that a deputy told a dispatcher that Soules “took off” in a red truck while Mosher was unconscious in his vehicle.

Alcohol was found at the scene, and investigators were trying to determine whose it was, said Sheriff Bill Wolgram. Court records show that Soules has had some driving infractions in the past, including a 2006 conviction for operating while intoxicated.

Soules was arrested about five hours after the crash and then booked into the Buchanan County Jail on a charge of leaving the scene of a fatal accident, which carries a penalty of up to five years in prison. He was released around midday on $10,000 bond, and was required to surrender his passport and wear an electronic monitoring ankle bracelet until his trial, jail officials said at the time of the incident.

Soules first drew national attention as a participant in The Bachelorette in 2014, when he tried to win the affections of star Andi Dorfman but was passed over.

A fan favourite, the reality show had him back as The Bachelor the following year. His appearance drew attention to farming life and some of the struggles facing rural Iowa. He proposed to Chicago fertility nurse Whitney Bischoff at the end of his season, but their relationship ended shortly after the show.

— With files from Associated Press

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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