Former ‘American Idol’ Star Charged in Fatal DUI Crash

By The Associated Press
The Associated Press
The Associated Press
February 9, 2022 Updated: February 9, 2022

PACOLET, S.C.—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.

Kennedy is being charged as an adult with the crime, which is a felony, the prosecutor’s office said.

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. Officials didn’t say whether Kennedy knew Parris and it was not immediately known whether Kennedy has an attorney who could speak on his behalf. He had a court appearance scheduled for Wednesday.