The Day

Georgia star Jalen Carter charged with racing in fatal wreck

- By CHARLES ODUM AP Sports Writer

— Georgia defensive tackle Atlanta Jalen Carter, projected as one of the top players in next month's NFL draft, has been charged with reckless driving and racing in conjunctio­n with the crash that killed offensive lineman Devin Willock and a recruiting staff member.

The Athens-Clarke County Police Department has issued an arrest warrant, obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press, that alleges Carter was racing his 2021 Jeep Trackhawk against the 2021 Ford Expedition driven by the recruiting staffer, 24-year-old Chandler LeCroy, which led to the Jan. 15 wreck.

Carter had been due in Indianapol­is on Wednesday for the NFL's scouting combine, and he is expected to address the arrest warrant when he returns to Athens, according to Lt. Shaun Barnett of the Athens-Clarke County Police Department.

"It is my understand­ing that Mr. Carter is making arrangemen­ts to turn himself in," Barnett said in an e-mail to the AP.

Carter, one of six players who was not present Wednesday for scheduled media interviews at the combine, issued a statement on his Twitter account saying he expects to be "fully exonerated of any criminal wrongdoing."

"This morning I received a telephone call from the Athens, Georgia, police department informing me that two misdemeano­r warrants have been issued against me for reckless driving and racing," Carter said. "Numerous media reports also have circulated this morning containing inaccurate informatio­n concerning the tragic events of January 15, 2023. 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.

“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."

The crash occurred just hours after the Bulldogs celebrated their second straight national championsh­ip with a parade and ceremony, killing LeCroy and Willock.

Georgia coach Kirby Smart expressed his concern about the charges in a statement issued Wednesday.

"The charges announced today are deeply concerning, especially as we are still struggling to cope with the devastatin­g loss of two beloved members of our community," Smart said.

"We will continue to cooperate fully with the authoritie­s while supporting these families and assessing what we can learn from this horrible tragedy."

According to the arrest warrant, the investigat­ion by Athens police found that LeCroy and Carter were operating their vehicles "in a manner consistent with racing" after leaving downtown Athens at about 2:30 a.m.

The warrant says evidence shows the vehicles switched lanes, drove in the center turn lane, drove in opposite lanes, overtook other motorists and drove at high rates of speed "in an apparent attempt to outdistanc­e each other."

Police determined LeCroy's Expedition was traveling at about 104 mph (167 kph) shortly before the crash. The warrant says LeCroy's blood-alcohol concentrat­ion was .197 at the time of the crash. The legal limit in Georgia is .08.

Willock, 20, was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash. LeCroy was transporte­d to a hospital, where she died from her injuries.

Georgia linebacker Nolan Smith became emotional on Wednesday when talking about Willock at the scouting combine.

"This is the first time I'm talking about it," Smith said. "That's my guy. That's one person that never did anything wrong. I get sensitive talking about it just because I love him. He never did anything wrong in his three years."

Offensive lineman Warren McClendon, who had just announced plans to enter the NFL draft, sustained minor injuries in the crash. Georgia football staffer Victoria Bowles was hospitaliz­ed with more serious injuries.

 ?? MARCIO JOSE SANCHEZ/AP PHOTO ?? In this Jan. 7 file photo, Georgia defensive lineman Jalen Carter speaks during media day ahead of the College Football Playoff championsh­ip game against TCU in Los Angeles.
MARCIO JOSE SANCHEZ/AP PHOTO In this Jan. 7 file photo, Georgia defensive lineman Jalen Carter speaks during media day ahead of the College Football Playoff championsh­ip game against TCU in Los Angeles.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United States