Jalen Carter’s legal issues in connection to the fatal car crash of two from the Georgia football program now have some clarity as teams evaluate him as a top NFL draft prospect.
The former star Georgia defensive tackle entered no contest please to two misdemeanor charges of reckless driving and racing after working on a resolution with the solicitor’s general office, according to Kim Stephens, his attorney. Carter entered the pleas Thursday morning at an appearance at the Municipal Court of Athens-Clarke County.
Carter is sentenced to 12 months of probation, must pay a $1,000 fine and perform 50 hours of community service and complete a state approved defensive driving course. Carter was also suspended for driving in the state of Georgia for 120 days, according to Will Fleenor, Solicitor General of Athens-Clarke County.
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Athens-Clarke County Police said Carter was racing Georgia recruiting staffer Chandler LeCroy from downtown Athens at about 2:30 am on Jan. 15 when LeCroy crashed a Ford Expedition rented by UGA athletics. Police said LeCroy’s blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit and he was driving at 104 miles per hour before the crash on Barnett Shoals Road.
LeCroy and Georgia offensive lineman Devin Willock were killed in the crash.
“A number of questions have been asked regarding the severity of the charges that were brought and whether more serious offenses occurred,” Fleenor said in a release Thursday afternoon. “The Solicitor’s Office has jurisdiction over misdemeanors only and thus was tasked with prosecuting this case because these charges are misdemeanors. Law enforcement officers did evaluate whether more serious charges would have been appropriate. However, after consultation with the District Attorney’s Office, and the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council, based on the evidence and applicable laws in this case, it was determined that the appropriate charges were the two traffic offenses that were resolved in court this morning.”
Stephens said in a release: “In entering the plea, Mr. Carter chose not to contest the charges lodged against him by The Athens-Clarke County Police Department in order to resolve the matter in the most efficient manner possible. With the entry of the plea, the State is forever barred from bringing any additional charges against Jalen Carter for conduct allegations to have occurred on Jan. 15, 2023.”
Stephens said Carter’s actions driving a Jeep Trackhawk “did not cause a tragic accident,” which also caused injuries to recruiting staffer Tory Bowles and offensive lineman Warren McClendon. He said if he had, he would have faced more serious felony charges of vehicular homicide and serious injury by vehicle and a long prison sentence.
Stephens disputed some media reports that Carter had left the scene of the accident without being told he could leave. He said Carter stopped his vehicle after the crash and ran toward the wrecked Ford Expedition while an unnamed passenger with Carter called 911. He said when Carter was told he could leave the scene, he returned when the police called him back for questioning.
Carter was not drinking and was not under the influence of alcohol or any illegal substance, Stephens said.
Carter, a potential top 10 overall draft pick, performed position drills at Georgia’s Pro Day Wednesday, but did not finish them due to apparent cramping. He was nine pounds heavier than at the NFL combine earlier this month in Indianapolis.