IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Applications for warrants that allowed police to arrest “The Bachelor” star Chris Soules after a fatal crash and to obtain his blood and urine samples will be sealed indefinitely under rulings issued Friday.
The release of warrant documents could jeopardize the investigation into Monday’s accident and undermine Soules’ right to a fair trial, two judges said in similar rulings.
Soules has been charged with leaving the scene of a deadly accident after his truck rear-ended a tractor, killing 66-year-old farmer Kenneth Mosher on a county road in northern Iowa. Authorities say Soules called 911 and sought help for Mosher before leaving the scene in another truck, leaving his damaged vehicle in a ditch. They say he returned to his Arlington home, where he declined to answer the door until officers obtained a warrant allowing them to enter about five hours after the crash.
The filings show that judges approved warrants early Tuesday allowing officers to search Soules’ home and a red truck that allegedly drove him away from the scene, and to obtain blood and urine specimens for toxicology testing. Police are investigating whether alcohol played a role in the crash and are trying to identify who drove Soules from the scene.
Fridays’ rulings seal the warrants, applications for them, affidavits that detail investigators’ probable cause and inventories of items seized.
Soules, who starred on the ABC reality show two years ago and later appeared on “Dancing With The Stars,” had been scheduled to face a preliminary hearing next week. But a prosecutor asked Friday for a delay, and Soules’ defense didn’t object.
Prosecutors sought the sealing of the warrants. But the orders also came one day after Soules’ lawyers urged the public not to prejudge his actions and said they were considering seeking “a gag order” to limit the release of pre-trial information.
Warrant documents are public records in Iowa once they are served and officers file returns with the court. But judges routinely seal them during investigations for a period of time — like 60 days — before they become public. Friday’s rulings seal them “until further order of the court.”
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