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Former “American Idol” contestant Caleb Kennedy charged with DUI in fatal crash

Former “American Idol” contestant Caleb Kennedy has been charged with felony DUI following a deadly crash in Spartanburg County, South Carolina, CBS affiliate WSPA-TV reports.

Kennedy, 17, allegedly drove a 2011 Ford pickup truck into a workshop behind a home on Tuesday afternoon, according to the Pacolet Fire Department. A person inside the workshop was injured in the crash. They were taken to the hospital, where they later died. 

The victim was identified by the Spartanburg County Coroner’s Office as 54-year-old Larry Duane Parris, WSPA reports. 

Kennedy was also treated for injuries sustained in the crash.

Kennedy was charged with felony DUI resulting in death and is being held in the Spartanburg County Detention Center ahead of a bond hearing scheduled for Wednesday morning. If convicted, he could face up to 25 years in prison. 

Kennedy appeared on season 19 of the reality singing competition “American Idol.” He was one of the last five singers remaining in the competition, but left the show in May after video surfaced showing him sitting next to someone who was wearing a head covering resembling a Ku Klux Klan hood.

Kennedy’s mother told the Herald-Journal at the time that the video was taken when Kennedy was 12 years old, and that the other person was dressed as a character from the movie “The Strangers: Prey at Night.” 

After leaving the show, Kennedy said in a statement posted on social media that the video “displayed actions that were not meant to be taken in that way. I was younger and did not think about the actions, but that’s not an excuse.”

“I wanna say sorry to all my fans and everyone who I have let down… I pray that I can one day regain your trust in who I am and have your respect!” he added. “Thank you for supporting me.”

Christopher Brito contributed reporting.



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