American Idol’s Caleb Kennedy has been charged with a DUI after allegedly driving intoxicated and hitting a building. One person was killed.
Former American Idol hopeful Caleb Kennedy is facing a felony charge for allegedly driving under the influence and killing someone after crashing into a building. Caleb, who competed on American Idol season 19 last year, is just 17 years old; since season 10, qualifying contestants must be between 15 and 28. Acknowledged as a great singer by judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie and Luke Bryan, Caleb managed to advance all the way to the Top 5 before becoming embroiled in his first controversy.
While Caleb’s fans thought that the singer—who performed songs such as « Midnight Train To Memphis » as well as original material—had the competition in the bag, the teenager unexpectedly dropped out after a racist video surfaced online. Standing next to a friend wearing a KKK hood, viewers were shocked, upset and furious. Caleb’s mom and manager, Anita Guy, claimed that the pair were simply acting out a scene from a movie, which most people didn’t buy. Announcing his withdrawal on social media at the time, Caleb apologized for his part in the clip and blamed his « younger« self for not being aware of the consequences of his actions. Admitting that he was not « emotionally ready« to compete on national television, Caleb is not the first singing competitor to fall under scrutiny; country singer Morgan Wallen from The Voice was also caught in a compromising position after a video showed him using a racial slur.
While Caleb and Morgan’s music surged despite their transgressions, Caleb will not be making music for a while after landing in jail. « A 2011 Ford pickup was traveling north on W. Murph Road when the vehicle traveled onto a private drive at 269 W. Murph Road and struck a building, » Master Trooper Ridgeway told People. Trooper Ridgeway, who heads the South Carolina Highway Patrol, revealed the deceased as Larry Duane Parris, 54. Larry was confirmed as the victim by the Spartanburg County Coroner’s Office. « [The] person inside the building sustained a fatal injury as a result of the collision« and was pronounced dead three hours after Tuesday’s 12:24 p.m. crash, according to official reports. « The driver is identified as Caleb Andrew Kennedy, 17-year-old male from Roebuck, South Carolina, » Trooper Ridgeway confirmed; the American Idol alum is now facing a felony DUI after allegedly being intoxicated behind the wheel.
With the South Carolina Highway Patrol continues to investigate the fatal crash, Trooper Ridgeway told People that they will not be providing any more updates until they determine what happened. Caleb‘s last Instagram post, which was uploaded on December 29, has been flooded with comments from American Idol fans who heard the news. Advertising « DG’s New Year’s Eve Fest » for December 31, users were quick to point out the irony of the sign, which says it will feature « Crawford Colt » and « No Speed Limit. » « Condolences to Larry’s family, » one person wrote, while others brought up Caleb’s young age. « You had a whole future ahead of you, » another user commented, while a third person said, « Young man had his whole life in front of him but the wrong influences and being given too much freedom…led to bad decisions. »
Looking haggard and run-down in his mugshot, it’s clear that Caleb has a long road ahead of him. Caleb might not be the first American Idol star to fall from grace, but with a serious charge looming, Caleb’s future in the music industry is hanging by a thread. The third season to be filmed during the COVID-19 pandemic, American Idol season 20 is set to premiere on February 27; viewers are hoping more than ever that the producers take their time vetting potential contestants.
American Idol premieres February 27 at 8 p.m. EST on ABC.
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