‘American Idol’ star to remain in jail until SLED completes toxicology

Caleb Kennedy’s attorney says urine sample shows trace THC
Third bond hearing for Caleb Kennedy, a former American Idol contestant who is charged with DUI in a deadly crash.
Published: Mar. 10, 2022 at 8:38 AM EST|Updated: Mar. 10, 2022 at 11:21 AM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

SPARTANBURG, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - Former ‘American Idol’ contestant Caleb Kennedy will remain in jail after a bond hearing on Thursday morning.

Kennedy, 17, who is charged with DUI in the crash killing 54-year-old Larry Parris, was in court on Feb. 24 but the bond hearing was continued by a judge without a decision.

At Thursday’s bond hearing, Kennedy’s attorney presented a medical record from the day of the crash showing blood alcohol results and urine results from Kennedy, but the full toxicology report is still not available yet. The judge said since that information is not available yet, he can’t rule on Kennedy’s bond.

Family of Parris was in the courtroom again on Thursday.

Larry Duane Parris, his daughter Kelsi and wife Donna.
Larry Duane Parris, his daughter Kelsi and wife Donna.(Provided by family)

The victim’s wife, Donna Parris, again asked a judge to deny Kennedy’s bond. Parris said she asked Kennedy at the scene what happened while her daughter called 911.

“All he could do was look at me with a blank stare and say ‘I don’t know,’” she said. “He killed my husband and I don’t think he should be allowed to get out... It’s just not right. He made a conscious decision to drive that truck in the condition he was in.”

Kelsi Harvell, Larry’s daughter, also spoke at the hearing.

“For a month now, I’ve laid down and closed my eyes only to hear the same thing over and over again,” Harvell said. “My daddy laying in his own shop - moaning, groaning, and hollering - with a complete stranger. A stranger that was not calling 911 or even calling for help. Just sitting there with a blank look on his face.”

She emotionally described asking her father to look at her and stay awake, and hearing the surgeon tell their family he would not make it once he was transported to the hospital.

“If I have to relive that every day for the rest of my life, please explain to me how he has the opportunity to go home,” Harvell said. “This shouldn’t even be an option.”

Kennedy’s attorney, Ryan Beasley, gave a statement with a different, account though. He said Caleb was holding Larry Parris in his arms and crying when paramedics arrived on the scene.

“Caleb is a minor with no record and by all accounts had an adverse reaction to a prescribed drug during the middle of the day on the way to see his girlfriend,” Beasley said. “He wasn’t out late at night partying, drinking, and running from the cops.  Caleb has done nothing but express remorse and sorrow for the Parris family every time I speak to him. In fact,  every time I meet with Caleb, he insists that we say a prayer for the Parris family.”

Beasley has continually pushed for the teen to be granted bond. Beasley said Kennedy had a bad reaction to prescription medication and was not under the influence of marijuana at the time of the crash, despite what Highway Patrol warrants claim.

The solicitor said Thursday they are still waiting for blood results as to what else Kennedy may have had in his system at the time of the crash. Beasley told FOX Carolina that 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.

“The ruling today means Caleb will not be eligible to have a bond until SLED completes the toxicology report which could take up to six months because of the backlog,” Beasley said. “We provided the court with blood/urine results which show the presence of THC which is what the State is alleging is the illegal influence so what else do they need?”