Caleb Kennedy, who appeared on season 19 of American Idol in 2021, was arrested and charged with a felony driving under the influence resulting in death on Tuesday (Feb. 8), ABC4 reports.
The 17-year-old was allegedly driving just south of Pacolet, South Carolina on West Murph Road in Spartanburg County around 12:40 pm when his vehicle went into a private drive and reportedly struck a man with his car.
According to Fox Carolina, the 54-year-old victim, Larry Duane Parris, was hit and rushed to the hospital with injuries after Kennedy reportedly struck a building in a private driveway on West Murph Road.
The outlet also reported that Parris was later pronounced dead at the hospital by The Spartanburg County Coroner’s Office at 3:45 p.m on Tuesday (Feb. 8).
Kennedy, who was allegedly driving a 2011 Ford pickup, traveling North on West Murph Road, also sustained injuries and was taken to Spartanburg Medical Center, Master Trooper Mitchell Ridgeway said.
Kennedy was charged with felony DUI resulting in death.
Kennedy abruptly exited American Idol before the Top 5 after a video showing him with someone who appears to be wearing a hood similar to that of the Ku Klux Klan surfaced online.
He revealed he was leaving Idol in a letter to fans on social media.
“Hey y’all, this is gonna be a bit of a surprise, but I am no longer gonna be on American Idol,” Kennedy’s statement began. “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.”
Kennedy was 12 when the video was filmed and his mother later shared a statement about the clip, telling fans it had “nothing to do with the “Ku Klux Klan.”