American Idol Finalist Charged in Fatal DUI Crash

Caleb Kennedy, 17, is being charged as an adult in South Carolina man's death
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Feb 9, 2022 3:04 PM CST
Ex- American Idol Star Charged With DUI Causing Death
This photo provided by Spartanburg County Jail shows Caleb Andrew Kennedy.   (Spartanburg County Jail via AP)

A country music singer who was a finalist on TV's American Idol has been charged with driving under the influence resulting in death, South Carolina authorities said Wednesday. Caleb Andrew Kennedy, 17, drove his pickup truck onto a private driveway and struck a residential building in Spartanburg County on Tuesday, killing a man who had been inside, according to Master Trooper Mitchell Ridgeway of the South Carolina Highway Patrol. Resident Larry Duane Parris, 54, was pronounced dead at a hospital shortly after the crash, Spartanburg County Coroner Rusty Clevenger said. The prosecutor's office says Kennedy is being charged as an adult with the felony crime, the AP reports.

Kennedy advanced into the Top 5 of the ABC reality show last year, but dropped out of the singing competition after a video circulated of him sitting next to someone wearing what appeared to be a Ku Klux Klan hood. On Twitter and Instagram, Kennedy apologized for the video, saying "it displayed actions that were not meant to be taken in that way." Kennedy’s mother, Anita Guy, told news outlets that the video was filmed when Kennedy was 12 and had been taken out of context. She said Kennedy had been imitating characters from the film The Strangers: Prey at Night. Kennedy's hometown is listed as Roebuck, which is just south of Spartanburg. He had a court appearance scheduled for Wednesday.

(More South Carolina stories.)

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