Former "The Bachelor" star Chris Soules "acted reasonably" after he rear-ended a fellow Iowa farmer by calling 911 and trying to resuscitate the man, his new legal team said Thursday.
Soules is charged with leaving the scene of a deadly accident, a felony that carries up to five years in prison, in Monday night's crash near his farm in northern Iowa that killed 66-year-old Kenneth Mosher.
Authorities say that Soules' truck rear-ended Mosher's tractor, throwing him into a ditch. Police audio shows that Soules called 911 to report that he had "rear-ended a guy on a tractor" and sought medical help for Mosher before he left the scene in another vehicle.
Authorities say that Soules was located at his home about 10 miles away but that he initially refused to answer his door for officers. He was arrested five hours after the crash after they obtained a warrant to enter the home. Soules was released on bond Tuesday after 10 hours in jail. Investigators are looking into who drove Soules away and whether alcohol, speed or texting played a role in the crash. The sheriff says alcoholic beverages were found at the scene and police are trying to determine who had possessed them.
Soules had been represented by attorney Molly Spellman at his initial court appearance Tuesday. But on Thursday, high-profile defense lawyer Alfredo Parrish and two colleagues from his Des Moines law firm informed the court that they are now representing Soules in the case.
A statement issued Thursday from the firm and Soules' publicist argued audio of the 911 call showed that initial portrayals of Soules having fled the scene were misleading. The statement noted that Soules identified himself on the call and "explained his role in the terrible accident." It added that he tried to perform CPR on the victim and stayed until emergency medical personnel arrived — two facts that aren't clear on the call.
The call featured someone performing CPR but it wasn't clear that it was Soules, who told the dispatcher that he didn't know the technique. The call was abruptly ended by Soules, who police say then "took off" in a truck.
"His attorneys are confident that once all the evidence is made public, it will show Soules acted reasonably and did everything in his power to provide aid to Mr. Mosher," the statement said, adding that everyone "in this close-knit farming community is mourning Mr. Mosher's passing."
Soules, who is required to wear an ankle bracelet for monitoring, is due in court next week for a preliminary hearing. He is charged with violating a law that requires drivers involved in fatal accidents to remain at the scene "except to seek necessary aid or to report the accident to law enforcement authorities."