UGA football star Jalen Carter pleads not contesting charges related to fatal accident, sentence learns

College football player Jalen Carter was sentenced to 12 months probation after failing to enter a contested plea to felony charges related to his involvement in a fatal car accident in January who killed one of his teammates and an associate, his lawyer announced on Thursday.

In addition to the year of probation, Carter’s sentence will require him to pay a $1,000 fine, perform 80 hours of community service and complete state-approved driver training, attorney Kim Stephens said in a press release.

Carter, a defensive lineman for the University of Georgia Bulldogs football team who was once a top contender for the current NFL draft, turned himself in to the police in Athens — where the campus is located and where the fatal crash took place — shortly after authorities issued warrants for his arrest in early March.

The Athens-Clarke County Police Department had previously announced that 21-year-old Carter was being charged with reckless driving and racing in connection with the accident. At the time, booking records showed that Carter surrendered to police around 11:30 p.m. on the night of March 1 and was released before midnight on a $1,500 bond on the reckless driving charge and a $2,500 bond on the racing charge.

The allegations stemmed from a car accident near the university in the early morning of January 15. Initially characterized by police as a single-vehicle accident, the accident resulted in the death of Devin Willock, a 20-year-old offensive lineman for the Bulldogs, and Chandler LeCroy, a 24-year-old football recruiting analyst for the team who previously received her degree from the University of Georgia. Willock was pronounced dead at the scene, according to police. LeCroy was taken from the crime scene to a nearby hospital where she died of her injuries.

Jalen Carter watches players warm up on the field for the Indianapolis NFL Football Scouting on Thursday, March 2, 2023.

Darron Cummings/AP

An investigation later found that LeCroy, who drove the car that crashed with Willock in it, and Carter, who drove a second car carrying two additional people on the same road, “operated their vehicles in a manner consistent with racing” in the leading up to the fatal accident, police said. Both cars headed for the university campus around 2:30 am that morning from the center of Athens. Police said their investigation also found that LeCroy’s car was traveling at about 104 mph before the crash and that her blood alcohol concentration was 0.197 when the accident happened.

“Investigators determined that alcohol abuse, racing, reckless driving and speed were major contributing factors to the accident,” police said in announcing the charges against Carter.

Carter’s lawyer addressed claims made against him by the public in the aftermath of the car crash and arrest warrants, including suggestions that he had consumed alcohol before getting behind the wheel and speculation about why he left the scene of the crime. accident left about an hour before returning to make statements to police.

In her announcement Thursday, Stephens wrote, “Mr. Carter never left the scene of the accident without being told he could leave.” The attorney also said Carter “had not consumed alcohol at the time of the wreck and was not under the influence of alcohol or any other illegal substance.” She argued that if he had been, the police would have taken steps consistent with a DUI arrest after speaking to him at the scene.

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