A judge in Iowa recently dismissed “Bachelor” Chris Soules constitutional challenge to an Iowa law, which requires any surviving driver involved in a fatal accident to remain at the scene until law enforcement arrives. Soules’ argument comes as he is trying to avoid prison, after fatally rear-ending a neighbors tractor; Soules was ultimately charged with leaving the scene of a fatal car crash, a class D felony charge, for his role in the April accident that resulted in the death of his neighbor. If convicted of the crime, Soules could face up to 5 years in an Iowa State prison.
The law in which Soules is seeking to challenge states specifically that “a surviving drier shall promptly report the accident . . . and should immediately return to the scene of the fatal accident or inform law enforcement where he or she can be located following the accident”. Prosecutors in the case are making their arguments clear that Soules completed neither of the above-mentioned requirements. He left the scene following the accident and did not attempt to make his whereabouts known to authorities.
Soules attorneys worked to highlight many of the steps Soules took following the incident to help his neighbor; he called 911 following the accident and identified himself as being involved in the accident, administered CPR to the suffering victim, and remained at the scene until the ambulance arrived. The major issue surrounding the case is that Soules was driven home before law enforcement arrived.
Chris Soules appeared on ABC television’s Bachelorette and was the networks Bachelor for the following season.
Attorney Brandon Brown, defense counsel for Soules, made it evident in court that Soules made every effort possible to help his neighbor and to try to save his life. His once-neighbor, Kenneth Mosher, died shortly after being taken to the hospital via ambulance.
Soules attorneys also noted in court documents that no other state in the country has a law similar to the one Soules is facing in Iowa; Iowa is the only state in the nation with the added obligation to remain at the scene or report their whereabouts after drivers have identified themselves and ensured emergency personnel are responding to any injured victims.
A reason the judge may have dismissed Soules’ challenge to this law, is because a reason Iowa has this law is to ensure those involved in an accident remain at the scene to perform field sobriety tests (if officers deem necessary). Prosecutors argued that Soules was seen purchasing alcohol earlier in the night before the accident occurred and that by going home following the accident allowed Soules time to potentially sober up. Soules has a history of run-ins with the law, previously pleading guilty to an OUI back in 2005 and he pleaded guilty to underage possession of alcohol on two separate occasions.
You can read more about the case on wild about trials here.
If you are charged with leaving the scene in Massachusetts or are facing any criminal matter, contact Attorney DelSignore to discuss your case. The laws in Massachusetts differ from those in Iowa, and there may be a number of defenses available to your case.