UGA football stand-out Jalen Carter charged in connection with deadly crash
ATHENS, Ga. - Former University of Georgia football player Jalen Carter is now facing charges after police say he was involved in the crash that killed offensive lineman Devin Willock and one of the school's recruiters.
Officials with the Athens-Clarke County Police Department say Carter, the 21-year-old former defensive lineman for the Bulldogs, is charged with reckless driving and racing.
The charges come after Willock and Chandler LeCroy were killed in a single-vehicle crash during the early morning hours of Jan. 15, just hours after the Bulldogs wrapped up their day-long celebration of back-to-back national championships.
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According to the accident report, Willock was sitting in the backseat behind LeCroy and was thrown from the SUV. He died at the scene. LeCroy was trapped behind the wheel. She was rushed to an area hospital where she later died.
Also in the SUV at the time were 21-year-old offensive lineman Warren McClendon and 26-year-old recruiting staffer Tory Bowles, who were both injured.
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The investigation found that Carter, who was in another vehicle, and LeCroy were "operating their vehicles in a manner consistent with racing shortly after leaving the downtown Athens area," officials announced.
Police say the evidence showed both LeCroy and Carter's vehicles switched lanes, drove in the center turn lane and opposite lanes of travel, and were driving at high speeds "in an apparent attempt to outdistance each other" shortly before the crash.
The evidence also showed that LeCroy's vehicle was driving at about 104 miles per hour shortly before the crash.
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In the release, police disclosed that a toxicology report indicated that LeCroy's blood alcohol was .197 at the time of the crash.
In a statement posted on the University of Georgia Football website, head Coach Kirby Smart said the charges were "deeply concerning."
"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 wrote. "We will continue to cooperate fully with the authorities while supporting these families and assessing what we can learn from this horrible tragedy."
The UGA Athletics Association has since said the vehicle should not have been in use at the time of the crash.
"The car driven in the accident was one of several vehicles leased by our athletic department for use during recruiting activities only. Policies and expectations that were well understood by athletics staff dictated that such rental vehicles were to be turned in at the immediate conclusion of recruiting duties," a statement from the school reads. "Personal use was strictly prohibited. Therefore, the continued use of the leased car by our staff members after their recruiting duties ended earlier that evening was unauthorized."
This school's statement came after several reports suggested all four were seen leaving a popular Athens strip club about 15 minutes before the deadly crash.
Police have issued a warrant for Carter's arrest. It is not reported that he is in custody at this time.