Nearly two-and-a-half years after Chris Soules was involved in a car accident that left one man dead, the former Bachelor star is opening up about the dark days that followed.
In a PEOPLE exclusive sneak peek of an upcoming episode of former Bachelor Ben Higgins and Bachelor in Paradise star Ashley Iaconetti‘s Almost Famous podcast, Soules shares his side of the story, how the tragedy has impacted his life, and how he is continuing to heal.
“There was a period after the accident that I didn’t want to get out of bed,” says Soules, 38. “There was no hope left in life for me. I was severely depressed and scared. There was nothing left to live for.”
“But you take it one day at a time. Luckily, I have a family that is super supportive and friends that gave everything they could to keep my head in a relatively good space. I’m not going to lie, there were moments I didn’t think it was worth waking up,” he admits. “The worst things you could possibly think, I’ve thought.”
On April 25, 2017, Soules was arrested at 1:16 a.m. after a fatal car crash in Iowa, where he lived. Soules rear-ended his truck into a tractor driven by 66-year-old war veteran Kenneth Mosher. According to the Buchanan County Sheriff’s Office, Soules was charged with leaving the scene of the fatal car accident with a fatality, a felony, that left Mosher dead. That charge was eventually amended to leaving the scene of an accident causing serious injury, an aggravated misdemeanor. This year, Soules received two years of probation for leaving the scene of an accident resulting in serious injury.
“It’s been a tragedy,” he tells Higgins and Iaconetti. “A tragedy that two families were caught up in. An unavoidable situation that words can’t really describe how challenging it has been for both my family and the other people involved. The lows have been really low. We’ve stuck together as a family and both families are having an opportunity to heal as much as humanly possible from something that you really can’t 100 percent heal from.”
While Soules says the incident is “something that I’ll never forget,” he is focused on “being a better person.”
“I know that first six months was probably one of the lowest points of my life. It’s something that I’ll never forget. I still struggle to move on from. It’s something that I’ll think about forever. I can’t say enough how much I would take that evening back. I think both parties involved wish that evening hadn’t occurred,” says Soules. “Life is about, not the tragedies that you’ve been through, it’s about what you do afterwards and how you can move forward. All you can do is pray, work hard and focus on being a better person. That’s been my focus the past two years and I will continue to do that.”
In September, Soules opened up for the first time about the incident and its painful aftermath.
“The trauma of being involved in [the accident] is something I cannot describe,” he told PEOPLE exclusively of mourning the death of Mosher. “I think about it every day.”
Opening up about what happened on that fateful day is emotional for Soules, as he contended with numerous false stories in the media about the accident, including that he had been drinking, and that he didn’t do everything he could do save Mosher’s life.
“There is not a day that goes by that I don’t wish I could have done more or change the outcome of what happened,” said Soules, who, along with his parents Gary and Linda Soules, also reportedly agreed to pay $2.5 million to Mosher’s family. “My outlook on life has changed forever.”