UGA football star Jalen Carter facing charges in fatal crash: What we know
ATHENS, Ga. - UGA star Jalen Carter turned himself in to police late Wednesday night to face charges in connection to a deadly crash that claimed the life of one of his teammates and a staffer. Carter was booked at 11:25 p.m. and released 24 minutes later on a $4,000 bond, according to the Clarke County Sheriff's Office.
Athens-Clarke County police announced Wednesday that warrants had been issued for the UGA football stand-out on charges of reckless driving and racing in connection with the Jan. 15 crash. Carter is one of the top prospects for the 2023 NFL Draft.
The crash claimed the lives of UGA offensive lineman Devin Willock and recruiting analyst Chandler LeCroy. Investigators told FOX 5 they believe Carter and LeCroy were racing prior to the wreck.
UGA FOOTBALL PLAYER JALEN CARTER CHARGED IN CONNECTION WITH DEADLY CRASH
(Courtesy of Athens-Clarke Police Department)
According to police, both vehicles switched between lanes, drove in a center turn lane, and drove in the opposing traffic lanes at high speeds in an attempt to "outdistance each other." This was just hours after the school held a celebration for the football team’s second consecutive national title.
FOX 5 obtained surveillance video from Downtown Athens taken minutes before the crash. The video shows two cars at a red light that match police descriptions of the vehicles that were allegedly racing. One of the cars is seen speeding away quickly when the light turns green.
In a news release to FOX 5, police referenced a toxicology report indicating LeCroy’s blood alcohol level was .197 at the time of the crash, more than twice the legal limit. Investigators say LeCroy was traveling at 104 mph moments before the crash. The posted speed limit along the road is 40 mph.
UGA FOOTBALL STAFFER DRUNK AND TRAVELING OVER 100 MPH BEFORE FATAL CRASH, POLICE SAY
FOX 5 obtained a 911 call, one of many the night of the crash. In the 911 call, a male voice could be heard talking to someone he first calls "JC" and then later "Jalen." The caller appears to urge "JC" to leave the scene of the accident.
"Hey JC. You might as well go the f*** on," the 911 caller can be heard saying.
When officers arrived at the scene, they found LeCroy trapped behind the wheel of a black 2021 Ford Expedition and Willock, who had been sitting in the SUV directly behind her, thrown from the vehicle. Willock died at the scene.
LeCroy had to be freed from the wreckage. She, 21-year-old offensive lineman Warren McClendon, and 26-year-old recruiting staffer Tory Bowles were then rushed to Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center. LeCroy would later succumb to her injuries. McClendon, who was in the front passenger seat, suffered lacerations in the middle of his head and Bowles, who was in the right rear passenger seat, sustained multiple injuries.
According to an accident report, Willock and Bowles were not wearing seat belts.
Carter responded to the charges against him Wednesday, saying he would return to Athens. The UGA stand-out was at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis and set to speak to media prior to the announcement. He issued a statement on Twitter.
"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," the tweet reads. "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."
JALEN CARTER RESPONDS TO CHARGES CONNECTED TO DEADLY UGA CRASH
UGA Head football Coach Kirby Smart also released a statement calling the charges deeply concerning.
Coach Smart says the UGA family is still struggling to cope with the loss and says they will continue to fully cooperate with authorities in the case.
The case against Carter will be handled by the Athens-Clarke County Solicitor General’s Office.
The university has launched a separate internal investigation.