Former American Idol contestant Caleb Kennedy appeared before a judge in a hearing Thursday (April 29), his fourth hearing since a fatal crash in February. The 17 year old is still in jail awaiting bond.
Caleb is charged with DUI in the crash killing 54-year-old Larry Parris on Feb. 8. Officials say he traveled 175 yards off the road to a garage where Parris was working when he ran him over. Caleb crashed the truck into a garage while the vehicle continued dragging the man. Parris later died from his injuries.
Watch the virtual hearing at FOXCarolina.
During Thursday’s hearing solicitor Barry Barnette said Caleb admitted to law enforcement he took a hit off a vape pen and “started tripping.” Barnette also said Prozac bottles were found in his truck.
Caleb’s attorney, Ryan Beasley said a doctor recently increased Kennedy’s dose of Prozac. He called the accident “bizarre and tragic.” Toxicology reports showed THC in Caleb’s system on the day of the crash, although Beasley has argued it is a “trace amount.”
Beasley said Kennedy is not a flight risk or danger to the community when he asked a the judge, Circuit Court Judge Grace Gilchrist Knie, 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.
The judge will deliberate before sending her decision on Caleb’s bond by email
Judge Knie said she will deliberate before sending her decision by email to 7th Circuit Court Solicitor Barnette and attorney Beasley.
“I am going to draft written instructions for the order,” Judge Knie said during the virtual bond hearing. “I know this is extremely important to everyone. I am going to give this serious consideration. I will issue a decision as quickly as I can, hopefully in the next day or two.”
Beasley asked that a $20,000 bond be set because Kennedy cooperated with law enforcement following the crash. Parris’ wife, Donna, spoke at the hearing on Thursday and was very emotional when she asked the judge to deny Kennedy bond. Caleb appeared to cry during the hearing when she spoke and details of the incident were recounted.
After the hearing, Beasley said he is confident Judge Knie will release Kennedy on bond. “She knows as good as anybody this kid should have gotten a bond,” Beasley said. “I’d be shocked if (Kennedy) didn’t (get bond).”
If convicted of the felony DUI with death charge, Caleb faces up to 25 years in prison.
Caleb was disqualified from American Idol after racist video surfaced
Caleb Kennedy made it to the Top 5 on American Idol 19 last year based on the strength of his songwriting ability. But before the Top 5 took to the Idol stage to compete, a video surfaced of Caleb sitting next to a male wearing what looked like a white K-K-K hood. Producers disqualified him immediately, and erased all traces of the country singer from their site, including video performances. An original song he recorded never dropped. But He later recorded and released the song, “Raised on Dirt” on his own.
Despite the setback on Idol, Kennedy was lining up Nashville songwriters who were collaborating with the young singer on his next record. His hometown never stopped believing in him, as fans lined up to attend his first concert after leaving the show.