Back in 1998, in what sounds like a scene lifted straight from "The Parent Trap," "American Idol" finalist Bucky Covington deceived a North Carolina state trooper to spare his twin brother, Rocky, a possible prison stint. According to CourtTV.com, the identical Covington boys pulled it off, too — but not without first being arrested on charges of hit and run, resisting a public officer, giving fictitious information to a public officer, driving with a suspended license and leaving the scene of an accident.
CourtTV.com reports that on February 25, 1998, Gene Covington, Bucky's father, was sitting on his motorcycle, waiting to make a left turn into his driveway, which is situated near the crest of a hill in Laurinburg, North Carolina. Behind him, sitting at the wheel of Bucky's truck, was Rocky, waiting to make that same turn.
While the Covingtons waited for a break in oncoming traffic, high school student Ryan Roller was driving up the hill toward them in his father's truck; he did not notice the vehicles were stopped in the lane on the other side of the hill until it was too late. Roller slammed on his brakes and skidded into the back of Bucky's pickup. No one was injured, but the accident resulted in more than $4,000 in damages to the vehicles.
Rocky (who was 20 at the time of the incident) had previously had his license suspended for speeding, drinking while driving and driving with a revoked license. With police en route, the elder Covington, in an effort to spare Rocky a stint in jail, summoned Bucky, who had an almost spotless driving record, to the accident scene. When police arrived, Bucky claimed that he'd been the one driving the truck at the time of the collision in order to keep Rocky out of trouble. Roller was urged to cooperate and did — for the time being.
According to CourtTV.com, Roller later confessed the whole plot to his father, who then contacted Bucky's father. When the two dads couldn't come to an agreement on who'd be paying for repairs to the damaged trucks, Roller's father called the police. Not long after, a Richmond County District Court judge issued a warrant for Bucky's arrest — he was charged with resisting an officer and giving fictitious information to a public officer. Rocky was also booked on driving with a suspended license, leaving the scene of an accident and hit-and-run charges.
Last July, the Covington twins were tried in court, but the case tripped up when Roller was asked to point out the brother who'd been driving the truck he rear-ended. "I picked out the wrong one," he told CourtTV.com. "That was bad." The judge subsequently dismissed all charges.
"We couldn't say which one did what," explained Lewis Fadely, the prosecutor who handled the case. "In a criminal trial, you have to be able to say, 'The defendant did this, this and this.' We couldn't. They looked so gosh darn the same."
Bucky Covington is one of eight contestants remaining in this year's "American Idol" finals. The winner will be crowned May 24.