INDEPENDENCE — Sentencing of reality TV star Chris Soules for leaving the scene of an April 2017 crash that killed an Aurora farmer will have to wait.
Soules, a 36-year-old rural Arlington resident who appeared on ABC’s “The Bachelor” and “Dancing with the Stars,” had been scheduled for a hearing Tuesday that would determine if went to prison.
But because the state had agreed to follow recommendations in a disputed sentencing report, District Court Judge Andrea Dryer agreed Tuesday with defense attorneys to strike the report and order a new one.
Sentencing was delayed to a later day.
The defense argued that the written victim statements included in the report shouldn’t have been allowed because Soules was charged with leaving the scene — which happened after the crash — and not with causing the collision that killer farmer Kenneth Mosher, 66.
Because the charge had nothing to do with the cause of the crash, Mosher’s family can’t be considered victims under Iowa Code, a defense lawyer argued.
The impact statements were included in a pre-sentencing investigation report to the judge, which under Iowa law are confidential.
But statements from direct relatives could have been read aloud in court Tuesday had they been allowed. Members of the Mosher family declined to speak with news reporters.
Authorities said Soules was heading south about 8:20 p.m. April 24, 2017, on Slater Avenue outside Aurora when he rear-ended a tractor that Mosher was driving.
The defense said Soules reported the crash to 911 operators, performed CPR and remained on the scene until medics arrived. But prosecutors said he left in another vehicle before police arrived.
Court documents show “empty and partially consumed open alcoholic beverages” were found in and around Soules’ truck when first responders arrived on the scene. Soules also was seen purchasing alcohol before the crash.
Soules’ lawyers, however, have said two separate urine and blood samples, tested by the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation Crime Lab, were negative for drugs or alcohol.
After leaving the crash scene, authorities said, Soules returned home and refused to come out until authorities obtained a search warrant. Soules was taken into custody several hours after the crash.
He originally was charged with leaving the scene of a fatal accident, a felony with up to a five-year prison term.
In November 2018, he pleaded to a reduced charge of leaving the scene of an serious injury accident, a misdemeanor that carries up to two years in prison.
Under the plea agreement, the state was to adopt the recommendations from corrections officials who prepared the pre-sentence report.
But the defense successfully argued against including the victim impact statements.
A date for a new sentencing hearing was not scheduled.
The Gazette staff contributed.