Soules enters not guilty plea in fatal crash
His defense questions if he was even required to remain at the scene
INDEPENDENCE — Reality television star Chris Soules filed a formal not-guilty plea Tuesday in connection with a fatal crash in April.
Soules, 35, waived his right to appear at an arraignment and instead opted to file a written arraignment and not-guilty plea to a felony charge of leaving the scene of a fatal accident. He also demanded a speedy trial.
The plea was filed in Buchanan County District Court.
Soules, a rural Arlington resident who starred in “The Bachelor” and “Dancing with the Stars,” was arrested following an April 24 crash that killed 66-year-old Kenneth Mosher, who was driving a farm tractor on the road north of Aurora. Prosecutors said Soules left the scene before law enforcement arrived and then refused to come out of his house until authorities obtained a search warrant hours later.
Monday, a district court judge turned down a motion from Soules’ defense to throw out charges. His attorneys had asked the court to dismiss the charge because Soules had called 911 after the collision, identified himself and remained on the scene for more than five minutes.
In an order Monday, Judge Kellyann Lekar declared the motion moot on procedural grounds because a trial information — a formal charging document — had been filed in the case.
The trial information and an outline of the evidence were filed May 7 and reviewed by Lekar, who found sufficient evidence to allow the charge to proceed, according to court records.
In response, the defense filed a motion Tuesday asking the state to provide specific details about the evidence to help it prepare for trial. In the motion, defense attorney Gina Messamer argued the previous outline doesn’t provide enough information to back the charge.
Messamer also asked the state to provide the specific time and location Mosher was pronounced dead, arguing the charge is worded to apply only if a person has died before the “surviving” driver leaves the crash scene.
“The phrase ‘surviving driver’ is used twice in the last sentence of Iowa Code 321.263(2), again indicating the requirements of that sentence apply only if an individual has died while the surviving driver is on scene,” she wrote.
“Until there is a fatality, a person involved in an accident has no obligation to remain at the scene, return to the scene or inform law enforcement of his or her location.”