HOT SPRINGS, Arkansas – Musician Chris Carney, who starred in an MTV reality show before marrying actress Tiffany Thornton, died in a car crash Friday in Hot Springs, Arkansas, according to law enforcement.
Carney, 35, was a passenger traveling westbound on U.S. 70 in Hot Springs — his hometown — when the driver, identified by police as Ezekiel Blanton, “failed to negotiate a curve and over-corrected,” according to an Arkansas State Police summary.
The car drove off the road and struck a tree. Carney and Blanton were pronounced dead at the scene by the Garland County coroner.
Carney sang in the band Prom Kings, which formed in the mid-2000s in Los Angeles. It led to the short-lived MTV reality show “twentyfourseven,” which followed Carney and his brother in their pursuit of an entertainment career.
The show was a flop and his band broke up, leaving Carney down and out, according to a 2011 Arkansas Time profile. But his real second act was about to begin, one in which he would find religion, a job as a probation officer and the love of his life.
He left Los Angeles in 2007 and returned to Hot Springs, where his mother was mayor (and still is) and his father is a pastor. He told the Arkansas Times that when he was arrested on drug charges, the judge gave him three choices: jail, a state-funded treatment center or a faith-based drug rehab. He chose the third option.
About 10 months later, he saw Thornton on her Disney Channel show, “Sonny With a Chance,” and fell in love. He reached out to her and they began talking, sparking a connection that led to their marriage in 2011. They had two children together.
After completing treatment, he got a job with the county DWI court. It is unclear whether he still he had that job when he died.
Thornton, now a blogger and radio show host in Hot Springs, shared a picture on Instagram of her husband with their children captioned, “My life. My love. My angel.”
The City of Hot Springs expressed condolences to the victims’ families in a Facebook post.
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There are so many things I want you to know about Chris but most importantly you must know how earnestly he pursued the Lord, especially in the past year. No one is perfect in this world and we all have our battles but it's the way we get back on our feet and turn it around that really counts. And he did it. He was so on fire for God and I know he flew straight into the arms of Jesus, his best friend. Please if you're reading this know that Chris would want you to know the Lord. Don't wait to run back to God. Our days are numbered and God is just waiting for you to come back to him. There is so much power in the redemption God gives us and I am so grateful that Chris and I got to fall in love all over again this past year. He was on such an amazing path for the Kingdom, having just gone on a mission trip to Peru with his dad where he shared his beautiful testimony and brought so many people to the Lord. He finished writing, directing, producing and editing his first Christian film and he and I got to star in it together as love interests who end up getting married. He was THE BEST father my children could ever have, an incredibly loving and sensitive husband, a wonderful brother and amazing son. He is already so dearly missed but I promise to spend the rest of my life sharing his testimony so that those who feel they have no place or have come from a place of struggle can learn that the love of the Lord can save us all. We will have a service in remembrance of him Monday, December 7th at 3pm and First Church of the Nazarene here in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Visitation will begin at 1:30pm. Thank you for your continued prayers for our family as we grieve the loss of my best friend Chris, the most incredible person I've ever had the blessing of knowing.