‘No Contest’ plea from former UGA football star Jalen Carter following street racing crash that left two dead
Former Georgia star defensive lineman and top NFL draft prospect Jalen Carter entered a guilty plea on two misdemeanor charges of reckless driving and racing, related to a car crash that killed another player and a member of the team’s recruiting staff. Carter, 21, pleaded no contest, which means he is neither admitting nor denying charges of street racing and reckless driving. The plea deal with Athens-Clarke County prosecutors allowed Carter, once considered a top pick in next month’s NFL draft, to avoid jail time. A judge sentenced Carter to 12 months of probation, fined him $1,013, and ordered him to perform 50 hours of community service.
After UGA won its second consecutive national championship in January, Carter was charged in connection with the high-speed crash on Jan. 15 that killed offensive lineman Devin Willock and recruiting analyst Chander LeCroy, and injured lineman Warren McClendon and recruiting staff member Tory Bowles.
An investigation revealed that LeCroy was driving an SUV that was racing Carter’s SUV before the wreck. According to police, LeCroy’s SUV was going 104 mph when it left the road and hit two power poles and several trees. Police said her blood alcohol concentration was .197, about 2 ½ times the legal limit in Georgia. Carter stopped at the crash site, but then left the scene of the accident. He was later summoned back to the scene and provided police with conflicting accounts of what occurred.
Carter was later charged and turned himself into authorities. Upon posting bail and being released from custody, Carter posted a statement on Twitter predicting he would be “fully exonerated of any criminal wrongdoing. Criminal-defense experts say Carter’s no-contest plea provides no vindication. Carter’s lawyer, Kim T. Stephens, said in a statement, “He took the plea deal “to resolve this matter in the most efficient manner possible.” By resolving the matter, Stephens said, the state is forever barred from bringing additional charges against Carter.
Other UGA players with brushes with the law include Jamon Dumas-Johnson, arrested last month in an unrelated street racing incident that occurred five days before the crash, and former quarterback Stetson Bennett, who was charged in Texas on Jan. 29 with public intoxication.
It remains unclear how the resolution of Carter’s criminal case might affect his standing in the NFL draft.