Whether or not Chris Soules is prosecuted for the fatal car accident he was a part of earlier this week could come down to his phone.
A possible vehicular manslaughter prosecution is still on the table - but far from a given - for The Bachelor star from Arlington, Iowa.
Police arrested Soules for leaving the scene of the fatal crash, which occurred Monday, and are continuing to investigate its circumstances.
Law enforcement sources are particularly interested in whether Chris was guilty of distracted driving by using his cell phone at the time.
Soules' phone has been seized and any texts, photos, social media posts, plus his call log, will be cross-checked with the crash timeline.
The former Bachelor and Bachelorette star reportedly loved taking photos of sunsets as he drove down Iowa roads, which he posted online.
Since the crash, he's deleted his Twitter and Instagram accounts.
According to TMZ, a charge of vehicular manslaughter is on the table if evidence of distracted driving does in fact materialize.
That's a lot more serious than the charge he currently faces, but leaving the scene of an accident that resulted in death is still a felony.
Regarding that offense, his legal prospects are uncertain.
Prosecutors don't want to appear soft on celebrities, especially in rural Iowa, so that's not going to do him any favors for starters.
Famous or not, Soules left the scene of the accident before cops arrived, so they won't know if he was under the influence at the time.
Moreover, police and Soules had a standoff at his house for hours before he finally surrendered and was taken to a hospital for evaluation.
Again, it's unclear if he'd been drinking, but open containers of beer were in Soules' truck, which caused the crash by rear-ending the tractor.
None of that works in his favor. However, the Chris Soules 911 call released yesterday does help his cause, potentially in a big way.
He identifies himself by name, tells the dispatcher he was involved and says he administered first aid by checking the victim's pulse.
It also appears he left just as paramedics were arriving (so there's little more he could've done) and sounds coherent in the 911 audio.
Soules does not appear to have been drunk, in other words, and the skid marks from the scene don't appear to show excessive speed.
Prosecutors may very well charge Soules, but that's hardly predictive of a conviction. According to a legal source, if the case goes to trial:
"It's a loser ... Iowa juries that understand rural life are not going to convict a guy who tries helping the victim before leaving."
There's a strong possibility that Soules will settle the case by paying the victim's family and criminal charges will be dismissed or reduced.
Meanwhile, police say somebody picked up drove Soules away from the scene of the crash and are trying to determine who that was.
Soules, 35, reportedly walked away from the scene and started heading north where he was picked up by a red truck down the road.
Authorities have yet to identify the driver.
The farmer had his phone with him, as described earlier, and area police believe he called a friend or family member to pick him up.
A 911 dispatch call obtained from the sheriff’s office yesterday shows the law enforcement side of this, as an officer states:
“One of the subjects that was involved just took off northbound in a red Duramax truck. Do you have any available units?"
"Uh … let me see if we can get him to stop. I believe the name on the subject is going to be Chris Soules.”
At his arraingment, Iowa State Patrol claimed Soules left the scene after rear-ending his pickup truck into a tractor near Aurora, Iowa.
The area is reportedly about 15 miles south of Soules’ farm in Arlington, which was famously depicted on The Bachelorette and Bachelor.
Soules is free on $10,000 bond; Chris' lawyers have not yet commented, but a rep for the reality star issued a statement on Wednesday.
Chris “was devastated to learn that Kenneth Mosher, the other person in the accident, passed away. His thoughts and prayers are with Mr. Mosher’s family.”