‘American Idol’ star says he was ‘tripping’ before deadly crash, solicitor says

American Idol star Caleb Kennedy appears virtually in bond court after a deadly crash.
Published: Apr. 28, 2022 at 2:29 PM CDT
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SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WHNS/Gray News) - Former “American Idol” contestant Caleb Kennedy appeared before a judge Thursday. It was his fourth hearing since a deadly crash in February.

Kennedy, 17, is charged with DUI in the crash killing 54-year-old Larry Parris on Feb. 8.

Officials say he went 175 yards off the road to a garage where Parris was working when he ran him over.

In previous hearings, the judge did not set a bond as they waited for Kennedy’s toxicology results, WHNS reports.

Ryan Beasley, Kennedy’s attorney, has continually pushed for him to be released on bond.

Solicitor Barry Barnette said during Thursday’s hearing that Kennedy admitted to law enforcement he took a hit off a vape pen and “started tripping” before the crash.

Barnette also said Prozac bottles were found in his truck.

Beasley countered, explaining a doctor recently increased Kennedy’s dose of Prozac.

According to WHNS, toxicology reports showed THC in Kennedy’s system on the day of the crash, although Beasley argued it was a “trace amount.”

Beasley said Kennedy is not a flight risk or danger to the community when he asked a judge to grant bond for the teen.

He said Kennedy remained on the scene after the crash and was holding Parris and crying when first responders arrived.

Beasley said Kennedy has no prior criminal record, calling it a “bizarre and tragic accident.”

Parris’ wife, Donna, spoke at the hearing on Thursday and was very emotional when she asked the judge to deny Kennedy bond.

Circuit Court Judge Grace Knie said she will consider the information and issue a decision in writing within the next few days.

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