IOWA CITY, Iowa — Chris Soules, an Iowa farmer who starred on “The Bachelor” two years ago, was arrested Tuesday on a charge of causing a deadly crash and leaving the scene.
Soules, who was portrayed as a wholesome country boy looking for love on season 19 of the ABC reality show, was behind the wheel of a pickup truck that rear-ended a tractor in northern Iowa on Monday night, the Iowa State Patrol said.
The crash sent the tractor into a ditch on one side of the road and Soules’ truck 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 Kenneth Mosher, a 66-year-old farmer from Aurora, which is about 15 miles south of Soules’ farm in Arlington and about 65 miles north of Iowa City.
Authorities said someone 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 left the scene, according to a complaint, which doesn’t name the witnesses.
Alcohol was found at the scene, and investigators are trying to determine whose it was, Sheriff Bill Wolgram said. Court records show that Soules has had some driving infractions in the past, including a 2006 conviction for operating while intoxicated.
Soules, 35, was arrested in Aurora early Tuesday, about five hours after the crash, and was 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 will be required to surrender his passport and wear an electronic monitoring ankle bracelet until his trial, jail officials said.
It wasn’t immediately clear if Soules has a defense attorney. Chicago attorney David Lechner, who is representing Soules in a civil matter, said he knew nothing about the crash. In that case, Soules is suing Gree USA, the manufacturer of a dehumidifier that he blames for causing a fire that damaged his home last year.
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 favorite, ABC 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.
Soules has since served as a spokesman for various agricultural interests and worked in farm real estate and investing.
The crash comes as Gov. Terry Branstad and lawmakers have expressed alarm about a rising number of deaths on Iowa roadways caused by intoxicated and distracted drivers.
Branstad last week signed laws allowing officers to pull over drivers for texting while driving, increasing the penalties for texting-related vehicular homicides, and creating a statewide sobriety and drug monitoring program for intoxicated drivers.