Top NFL prospect Jalen Carter enters plea deal in deadly Georgia crash
Georgia defensive tackle and top NFL prospect Jalen Carter has entered a plea deal with the Athens-Clarke County prosecutors, according to The Athletic, in connection to the fatal crash that killed Georgia teammate Devin Willock and Bulldogs team staffer Chandler LeCroy.
Carter pleaded no contest to charges of racing and reckless driving, and he was given 12 months of probation, a fine of $1,000 and the requirement to complete 80 hours of community service as well as a state-approved defensive driving course, his attorney, Kim Stephens, wrote in a statement.
Stephens’ statement said that the investigation, and the facts presented throughout, should “debunk false information that spread online and in the media after Mr. Carter’s arrest” in connection to the fatal crash.
“First, Jalen Carter’s actions on January 15, 2023, did not cause the tragic accident involving Chandler Lecroy, Devin Willock, Victoria Bowles and Warren McClendon,” Stephens wrote. “If the investigation had determined otherwise, Mr. Carter would have been charged with far more serious offenses of vehicular homicide and serious injury by vehicle under Georgia law, both felony offenses, and would have faced a lengthy prison sentence.
“Second, Mr. Carter never left the scene of the accident without being told that he could leave. He stopped his car immediately after the accident occurred and ran toward the wrecked vehicle while his passenger called 911. Even after being informed that he could leave, Mr. Carter returned to the scene at the request of the Athens-Clarke County Police Department to answer additional questions and continued to cooperate throughout the investigation.”
Carter, who has ranked near the top of some mock drafts ahead of the 2023 NFL Draft, was charged with reckless driving March 1, and a warrant was issued for his arrest while the 21-year-old attended the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.
He returned to Athens, Ga., turned himself into authorities, was booked on misdemeanor charges for reckless driving and racing and then released 16 minutes later on $4,000 bond.
Carter issued a statement on Twitter on March 1, and he then returned to Indianapolis for the combine, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
“It is my intention to return to Athens to answer the misdemeanor charges against me and to make certain that the complete and accurate truth is presented,” Carter wrote in his statement. “There is no question in my mind that when all of the facts are known that I will be fully exonerated of any criminal wrongdoing.”
In Stephens’ statement, the lawyer claimed Carter hadn’t consumed alcohol or other illegal substances, otherwise he would’ve been arrested for DUI.
Carter participated in Georgia’s pro day Wednesday, but he struggled and showed up nine pounds heavier than the NFL Combine earlier this month, ESPN reported.
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He only participated in positional drills — skipping others like the 40-yard dash and cone drills, per ESPN — and reportedly started to cramp.
ESPN also wrote that Carter didn’t work out for teams at the NFL Combine, only participating in interviews with teams and logging his measurements.