Driver Charged in Idol Hit-and-Run Death

    UPDATE: In a hearing this afternoon, Judge Wendel E. Daniels confirmed that Daniel Bark would be facing the additional charges of aggravated manslaughter, death by vehicular homicide and eluding a law enforcement officer, with the bail on those counts to be set at $150,000.

    His earlier charge of leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident still stands.

    Prosecutors, who classified their case against Bark as a "continuing investigation," are also reportedly set to argue that alcohol was involved in the crash that claimed the life of two-time American Idol contestant Alexis Cohen.

    Meanwhile, Bark's lawyer said his client is devastated as a result of the accident and is on suicide watch in jail.

    "He's having an extremely difficult time mentally coming to terms with the fact that there's an allegation that he caused a death," he said outside the courtroom. "His family is extremely distraught about what happened to the victim in this case and want to extend their condolences to her family."

    Simon Cowell, speaking out about Cohen's death for the first time, told Extra: "I was incredibly sad to hear the news about Alexis. She was one of the contestants I will always remember. She had a big personality and a big heart. My thoughts are now with her family and friends."


    It's not just the judges of American Idol who are swift with their justice. The New Jersey police are pretty quick, too.

    Authorities arrested 23-year-old Daniel Bark yesterday evening for the Saturday death of infamous American Idol contestant Alexis Cohen.

    Bark was originally charged with causing Cohen's death by reckless driving and leaving the scene of the accident, though upgraded charges are expected to be announced later today.

    He's currently being held in Jersey's Ocean County Jail on $35,000 bail and, if convicted, could face up to 15 years behind bars.

    Passers-by alerted police to the scene early Saturday morning after spotting the body of 24-year-old Cohen near an intersection. Police said she may have been returning to her car when she was struck; her vehicle was just 350 yards away.

    Police announced that the death was likely the result of vehicular homicide, due to the nature of her abdominal, chest and head injuries. Ocean County Deputy Chief Prosecutor Michael Mohel told the Asbury Park Press that an "extensive investigation" led to Bark's arrest.

    (Originally published on July 27, 2009, at 7:16 a.m. PT)


    In happier American Idol alumni news, a wedding may be in the works for one of this year's also never-rans. Find out which fellow reality star is making an honest woman of her here.