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UGA football star Jalen Carter pleads no contest to charges connected to deadly crash, learns punishment

Georgia football star pleads no contest in crash
Georgia football star Jalen Carter pleads no contest in fatal crash 00:27

College football player Jalen Carter was sentenced to serve 12 months of probation after entering no contest pleas to misdemeanor charges tied to his involvement in a fatal January car crash that killed one of his teammates and a staff member, his attorney announced Thursday.

In addition to the year of probation, Carter's sentence requires him to pay a $1,000 fine, perform 80 hours of community service and complete a state-sanctioned driving course, attorney Kim Stephens said in a news release. 

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

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

The charges stemmed from a car crash that occurred near the university early on the morning of Jan 15. Initially characterized by police as a single-vehicle wreck, the accident resulted in the deaths 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 had previously earned her degrees from the University of Georgia. Willock was pronounced dead at the scene, according to police. LeCroy was transferred from the scene to a nearby hospital where she died from her injuries.

NFL Combine Football
Jalen Carter watches as players warm up on the field before the NFL football scouting combine in Indianapolis on Thursday, March 2, 2023. Darron Cummings / AP

An investigation later found that LeCroy, who was driving the car that crashed with Willock inside, and Carter, driving a second car that held two additional people on the same road, "were operating their vehicles in a manner consistent with racing" leading up to the deadly crash, police said. Both cars were heading toward the university campus from downtown Athens at around 2:30 a.m. that morning. Police said their investigation also determined that LeCroy's car was driving at about 104 mph before the crash, and her blood alcohol concentration was 0.197 when the accident happened.

"Investigators determined that alcohol impairment, racing, reckless driving, and speed were significant contributing factors to the crash," police said when announcing the charges against Carter. 

Carter's attorney addressed claims lobbed against him by the public in the wake of the car crash and arrest warrants, including suggestions that he had consumed alcohol before getting behind the wheel and speculation over why he left the scene of the crash for roughly an hour before returning to give statements to police. 

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

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