‘American Idol’ Finalist Caleb Kennedy Charged With DUI in Fatal Crash

by Amanda Glover

It looks like this “American Idol” finalist isn’t going to be taking the stage any time soon.

On Tuesday, authorities arrested a finalist for the popular singing contest, Caleb Kennedy, for felony DUI. According to TMZ, police officers say Kennedy crashed his car into a building’s workshop in Spartanburg County, which killed someone inside. The South Carolina Highway patrol revealed that Kennedy was driving a black 2011 Ford pickup truck.

“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. A person inside the building sustained a fatal injury as a result of the collision,” Trooper Ridgeway tells PEOPLE.

According to reports, the “American Idol” finalist ran off the road into a private driveway around 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday. He ended up driving into a workshop behind a house and hitting 54-year-old Larry Duane Parris. Parris ended up dying in the hospital while doctors treated the “American Idol” finalist for his injuries.

Officers say the crash caused fatal injuries to the person inside the building. Authorities arrested Caleb Kennedy and charged him with a felony DUI resulting in death. As of right now, the 17-year-old singer remains in police custody and the crash is still being investigated.

TMZ shared photos from the crash online. The images reveal the truck lodged in the garage, resulting in significant damage.

‘American Idol’ Contestant Left the Show After Being One of the Top 5 Finalists

In 2021, Kennedy finished “American Idol” as one of the five finalists. However, his time on the show ended after a Snapchat video popped up of him sitting next to someone in a Ku Klux Klan-like hood.

“American Idol contestant Caleb Kennedy will no longer be moving forward in the competition. Sunday’s episode will feature the Top 4 with one contestant elimination,” a source revealed to PEOPLE at the time of the event. 

Kennedy, 16-years-old at the time, released his own statement regarding his departure from the show on Instagram. His mother, Anita Guy, also claimed the video features Kennedy at 12-year-old.

“Hey y’all, this is gonna be a bit of a surprise, but I am no longer gonna be on American Idol. There was a video that surfaced on the internet and it 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.”

At the time, he also claimed he would be taking time off from social media to “better himself” and hopefully gain back the respect of many.

As his final performance on “American Idol,” he performed Coldplay’s hit song, “Violet Hill.”