Former Georgia defensive lineman Jalen Carter pleaded no contest Thursday to misdemeanor reckless driving and racing charges in connection with a car crash in January that left one of his teammates and a staff member dead, his lawyer said.
Carter, highlighted by the national champion Georgia Bulldogs and a projected first pick in the NFL draft, he was sentenced to 12 months probation, a $1,000 fine, and 80 hours of community service. He is also expected to participate in a state approved defensive driving course.
Carter’s attorney, Kim Stephens, welcomed the resolution, saying in a statement Thursday: «We are happy we were able to work with the attorney general’s office to reach a just and fair evidence-based resolution of this case. «.
«Mr. Carter continues to grieve the loss of his friends and continues to pray for their families, as well as the continued healing of the injured friends,» Stephens said.
Stephens noted that with the entry of Carter’s guilty plea, «the State is forever barred from bringing additional charges against Jalen Carter for the alleged conduct that occurred on January 15, 2023.»
Authorities previously said that on January 15, former University of Georgia offensive lineman Devin Willock and recruiting analyst Chandler LeCroy, 24, were killed in a crash.
Carter, they said, had been behind the wheel of a 2021 Jeep Trackhawk, in which he was competing with LeCroy, who was driving a 2021 Ford Expedition.
“Evidence showed that both vehicles changed lanes, drove in the center turn lane, drove in opposite lanes, passed other motorists, and drove at high speeds in an apparent attempt to outrun others,” police said.
Shortly before the crash occurred, the Expedition had reached 104 mph, police said, and LeCroy’s blood alcohol content was 0.197 «at the time of the crash.»
«Investigators determined that alcohol intoxication, racing, reckless driving, and speed were significant contributing factors to the accident,» police said.
The accident occurred just hours after the Bulldogs held a parade following a ceremony at Sanford Stadium honoring their championship.
Authorities said other people were on the Expedition with LeCroy when the accident occurred, including offensive lineman Warren McClendon. McClendon, who was wearing a lap and shoulder seat belt while sitting in the right front passenger seat, suffered only minor injuries, police said.
They said Willock, 20, had not been wearing a seatbelt during the accident.
Another Georgia soccer staff member, Victoria Bowles, was sitting in the back seat with Willock, police said. Bowles, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was hospitalized with serious injuries, police said.
Authorities said the Expedition «was unable to negotiate a left curve, which caused the vehicle to strike the curb with the front passenger tire and run off the road on the west shoulder.»
The SUV struck a Georgia power pole and another utility pole, before colliding with a tree in the passenger rear panel. That caused the vehicle to spin before crashing into another tree on the driver’s side, where both LeCroy and Willock were sitting, police said.