Chris Soules was arrested after a fatal car crash on Monday night.
The Buchanan County Sheriff's Department in Iowa confirmed to E! News that the former Bachelor was taken into custody after he fled the scene of a car accident, which occurred around 8:20 p.m. Monday between his pickup truck and a tractor trailer. The man driving the tractor trailer, Kenneth Mosher, was pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital.
Soules was arrested around 1 a.m. Tuesday at his home in Arlington—about 15 miles away from the accident—on charges of leaving the scene of an accident where a death occurred, which is labeled a "Class D" felony. He posted $10,000 bail and had an arraignment earlier today.
To make matters even more serious, the Buchanan Sheriff's Department is investigating whether Soules was under the influence at the time of the accident—something with which farmer has a history of legal run-ins.
E! News can confirm Soules was arrested in 2005 for Operating While Intoxicated (Iowa's term for DUI) after which he was fined $500, given a 60-day jail sentence, a 58-day suspended jail sentence and a year of probation. In 2001, he was charged twice (on two separate occasions) for minor in possession of alcohol.
Soules also has a history of traffic violations including seven speeding violations from 2000-2012 as well as the unlawful use of a license in January 2002. He was also previously charged for leaving the scene of an accident in 2002 after running a stop sign. However, that was later amended from leaving the scene due to defective brakes.
So what does all of this mean for Soules as he moves forward in his latest arrest? E! News spoke to legal expert Troy Slaten and discussed the various legal ramifications he could face.
"What it looks like right now, he is facing what is called a Class D felony, which is leaving the scene of an accident causing death," Slaten explained. "Leaving the scene of an accident causing death is, in and of itself, a felony."
However, Slaten said if police discover he was, in fact, driving under the influence, that could result in a much more serious set of punishments.
"If he was 0.08 or higher blood alcohol content, or so impaired by alcohol that the alcohol was the cause of the accident, then it's a whole other can of worms for him," Slaten said. "It's a worse penalty. He's facing more potential punishment and greater consequences if there was alcohol involved."
Furthermore, Slaten said Soules' previous criminal record of alcohol-related arrests could have an impact on the charges he faces for Monday's fatal accident.
"When somebody has a prior conviction for DUI, that can mean a couple of things," Slaten explained. "It can change a case of vehicular homicide or vehicular manslaughter into murder, and here's why: Normally when we talk about murder, there has to be some sort of malice or evil intent. Getting in an accident is usually not evil—an accident is an accident—but when somebody has been convicted of DUI [in the past], they're under a greater understanding of the dangers of drinking and driving because [they've] been through DUI classes and special alcohol education."
Therefore, Slaten continued, "Because [Soules] has been through that higher level of education...If he decided to go out and get impaired by alcohol and continue to drive, they can imply malice and say, 'You knew how dangerous it was [to drink and drive], but you went and did it anyway. You had this indifference to human life. Therefore, you're guilty of murder.'"
Since the Iowa State Patrol is still investigating whether alcohol was involved in the accident, Slaten explained the other reasons Soules may have fled the scene.
"Sometimes people leave the scene of an accident when they know that they're impaired because they don't want to get caught when they're impaired," he told us. "[But] sometimes people leave the scene of an accident because they're scared, and they're completely sober."
Slaten said Soules could have just been scared and went looking for help, or he could have been totally unaware that someone else was involved in the accident consider the man was on a tractor and it was dark out.
Nonetheless, Slaten continued, "In Iowa—and as in most jurisdictions—if somebody is injured in an accident, you owe a duty to render aid, and the only reason you can leave the scene is to go notify authorities. Then Iowa law requires that you come back to the scene or let police immediately know where you are."
What we do know for sure is that Soules got an arraignment Tuesday, which Slaten confirmed means he is facing criminal charges.
"An arraignment only happens with criminal charges," Slaten explained, adding that Soules could also face civil liability on behalf on the victim's family. "It appears that his driving was the approximate cause of the injury that resulted in death, so even if he didn't have any criminal charges (which he does), he's could face civil liability. [This] means money he would owe to the family of the person that he killed."
He further explained, "So the criminal case is about punishment, going to jail, community service, DUI classes, and the civil case is about money and compensating somebody. In this case, it's the family of the deceased person—whether it's his kids or brothers and sisters or parents—to make them whole for the loss of their loved one."
E! News confirmed Mosher was a father of two and is also a grandfather.
Soules' attorneys released the following statement on behalf of the former Bachelor star: "Chris Soules was involved in an accident Monday evening (April 24) in a rural part of Iowa near his home. He was devastated to learn that Kenneth Mosher, the other person in the accident, passed away. His thoughts and prayers and with Mr. Mosher's family."