Caleb Kennedy, a 17-year old American Idol contestant who was forced to leave the show last year amid a racism scandal, has been placed under arrest.
The aspiring artist has been charged with felony driving under the influence resulting in death following the crash in Spartanburg, South Carolina at 12.42 p.m. on Tuesday.
According to Highway Patrol Mitchell Ridgeway, Kennedy was behind the wheel of a truck at the time that crashed into a building — and killed a man.
“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,” Trooper Ridgeway said last night in a statement, adding:
“A person inside the building sustained fatal injury as a result of the collision.
“The driver is identified as Caleb Andrew Kennedy, 17-year-old male from Roebuck, South Carolina.
“This crash remains under investigation by the South Carolina Highway Patrol. There will be no further updates at this time.”
Kennedy advanced all the way to the Top 5 on American Idol.
In May 2021, however, an old TikTok video surfaced of Kenney when he was 12 years old.
In this video, Kennedy was sitting near someone wearing a Ku Klux Klan hood.
As a result of the backlash to this footage, Kennedy was forced to walk away from the singing competition.
“Hey y’all, this is gonna be a bit of a surprise, but I am no longer gonna be on American Idol,” Kennedy explained just under a year ago.
“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.”
Concluded Kennedy back then:
“I’ll be taking a little time off social media to better myself.
“But saying that, I know this has hurt and disappointed a lot of people and made people lose respect for me.
“I’m so sorry! I pray that I can one day regain your trust in who I am and have your respect! Thank you for supporting me.”
In response to the three-second, yet life-altering TikTok video, the teenager’s mother also released a statement last spring.
“I hate this has happened and how Caleb is being portrayed by people online,” she said in defense of her son.
“This video was taken after Caleb had watched the movie The Strangers: Prey at Night.
“They were imitating those characters. It had nothing to do with the Ku Klux Klan, but I know that’s how it looks. Caleb doesn’t have a racist bone in his body.”
As far as we know, Kennedy remains behind bars as of the posting of this article.
Neither he nor any representatives has commented on the arrest or his alleged role in the aforementioned car accident.
A month after his departure from American Idol, meanwhile, Kennedy opened up about his experience on reality television, admitting he “wasn’t ready for it.”
“On Idol, that wasn’t me,” he told GoUpstate.com.
“That world is so different. Now that I’m home, I try to be me, but I’m also scared of someone videoing me when I go to Academy or Wal-Mart. You have to worry about things like that now.”