Jalen Carter, a top-five prospect in the upcoming NFL Draft, was booked on misdemeanor charges Wednesday night in connection with a January car crash that killed two people, including a University of Georgia teammate. The incident occurred hours after the team bid to win the national championship.
The arrest warrants accused Carter of reckless driving and racing.
The Athens-Clark County Sheriff’s Department said Carter, who had no public contact with the incident prior to Wednesday, was racing his Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk with a Ford Expedition driven by Chandler Lecroy, the team’s recruitment analyst.
According to the police account, both cars were traveling in excess of the speed limit, and veered into oncoming lanes of traffic before crashing in Athens, Ga. , on January 15. The Expedition was traveling at 100 mph when it left the road and crashed into a power pole, killing LeCroy, 24, and Devin Willock, 20, a sophomore on the team. Two other passengers in the car were injured.
Toxicology reports indicated that LeCroy was intoxicated at the time of the accident.
In a statement posted on his social media account, Carter, 21, said the news accounts contained “inaccurate information” about what happened the night of the accident. He added, “There is no doubt in my mind that after knowing all the facts, I will be wholly cleared of any criminal wrongdoing.”
Carter turned himself in at an Athens prison on Wednesday night and was released about 15 minutes later. He will appear in court in April.
Allegations of his involvement were first reported before The Atlanta Constitution Journalwho said he gave conflicting statements to police about his whereabouts at the time of the crash.
“The charges announced today are deeply troubling, especially as we are still grappling with the devastating loss of two beloved members of our community,” Georgia Coach Kirby Smart said in a statement.
A defensive tackle, Carter is a top prospect for the April NFL Draft and was in Indianapolis for the league’s scouting group when warrants were issued. He was scheduled to speak to the media there on Wednesday morning, but did not appear.
Carolina Panthers general manager Scott Vetterer told reporters Wednesday that team executives interviewed Carter Monday night as part of their preparation for the ninth overall pick in the draft. Wetterer said he heard about the charges against Carter on Wednesday morning but had not yet discussed them with his staff.
“I don’t want to jump to any conclusions,” said Vetterer. “We’ll let everything happen and make a decision. “
Chris Rimm Contributed reporting from Indianapolis.
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