Former ‘American Idol’ Contestant Caleb Kennedy Denied Bond For the Third Time Following Felony DUI Crash

Caleb Kennedy, who appeared on season 19 of American Idol in 2021, appeared before a judge on Thursday (March 10)…


Lauren Jo Black

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March 10, 2022

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Caleb Kennedy, Photo by American Idol, ABC, Caleb Kennedy; Photo via Public Court Hearings

Caleb Kennedy, who appeared on season 19 of American Idol in 2021, appeared before a judge on Thursday (March 10) for an emergency bond hearing and was denied bond for the third time. 

The latest development in the case comes after Kennedy was arrested and charged with a felony DUI resulting in death on Tuesday (Feb. 8).

During Thursday’s bond hearing, the 17-year-old’s attorney, Ryan Beasley, brought forth medical records from the day of the incident showing Kennedy’s blood alcohol and urine results. However, the full toxicology report has yet to become available. 

caleb kennedy mCaleb Kennedy; Photo Courtesy Spartanburg County Sherriff's Office ugshot
Caleb Kennedy; Photo Courtesy Spartanburg County Sherriff’s Office

Since the toxicology report was unavailable, Circuit Court Judge, Daniel Hall, refused to set Kennedy’s bond as the condition given to him were not met. 

The family of the late victim, Larry Duane Parris, 54, was also present in the courtroom on Thursday. 

Parris’ wife Donna, and daughter, Kelsi Harvell, were overcome with emotions as they pleaded for Judge Hall to deny Kennedy’s bond.

“The only reason we are here is because this man made a conscious decision to put something into his body and then consciously got into a vehicle knowing he didn’t need to be driving and came down a dead-end road and came into my driveway,” Parris’ widow said. “I don’t think he should be allowed to get out and take a chance of doing that to somebody else.”

“For a month now, I’ve laid down and closed my eyes and closed my eyes only to see the same things over, and over, again,” Harvell added. “My daddy laying in his own shop, moaning and groaning, with a complete stranger.”

“Nothing’s changed between Feb. 8 and today, so why are we even here?” Harvell asked.

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Beasley also revealed during the court hearing that Kennedy was wearing a yellow jumpsuit, rather than the typical orange one, as he has been placed on suicide watch.

“Caleb is a minor and he’s being given Prozac,” Beasley said. “And the jail wants to give him more Prozac, but he’s still having the same symptoms that are described at the scene of this accident: blacking out, dizziness and his family, they are obviously worried.”

Beasley also claimed that the Idol alum was not getting the proper care from detention center medical staff.

The “Raised On Dirt” singer is being tried as an adult and, if convicted, Kennedy will face a sentence of up to 25 years in prison and fines.

The 17-year-old was reportedly driving just south of Pacolet, South Carolina on West Murph Road in Spartanburg County around 12:40 pm when his 2011 Ford pickup went into a private drive and reportedly struck a man.

Parris was rushed to the hospital with injuries after Kennedy reportedly struck a detached garage with Parris inside on February 8. Parris was later pronounced dead by The Spartanburg County Coroner’s Office at the hospital around 3:45 p.m that afternoon. 

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Kennedy, who was traveling North on West Murph Road, also sustained injuries and was taken to Spartanburg Medical Center, Master Trooper Mitchell Ridgeway said.

At the time of the crash, it was reported that Kennedy had alcohol in his system, however, blood work revealed that no signs of alcohol were present in his system at the time of the crash. 

“There was a trace amount of THC in Kennedy’s urine but said he was not under the influence of marijuana at the time of the crash,” according to Beasley, via FOX Carolina.

The full toxicology report could take up to six months to become available.

A trial date has yet to be set.

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Lauren Jo Black

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Lauren Jo Black

Lauren Jo Black, a University of Central Florida graduate, has immersed herself in the world of country music for over 15 years. In 2008, she co-founded CountryMusicIsLove, eventually selling it to a major record label in 2015. Following the rebranding of the website to Sounds Like Nashville, Black served as Editor-in-Chief for two and a half years. Currently, she assumes the role of Editor-in-Chief at Country Now and oversees Country Now’s content and digital footprint. Her extensive experience also encompasses her previous role as a Country Music Expert Writer for and her work being featured on She’s been spotlighted among Country Aircheck’s Women of Influence and received the 2012 Rising Star Award from the University of Central Florida. Black also spent time in front of the camera as host of Country Now Live, which brought live music directly to fans in 2021 when the majority of concerts were halted due to the pandemic. During this time, she hosted 24 weeks of live concerts via Country Now Live on Twitch with special guests such as Lady A, Dierks Bentley, Jordan Davis, Brett Young, and Jon Pardi. Over the course of her career, she has had the privilege of conducting interviews with some of the industry’s most prominent stars, including Reba McEntire, Blake Shelton, Luke Combs, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Miranda Lambert, Lainey Wilson, and many others. Lauren Jo Black is a longtime member of the Country Music Association and the Academy of Country Music.