Arrest warrant issued for potential top NFL draft pick Jalen Carter for alleged role in fatal January car crash

ATLANTA, GA - DEC 31: Georgia Bulldogs linebacker Jalen Carter (88) watches the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl semi-final game against the Ohio State Buckeyes on December 31, 2022 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, State Georgia.  (Photo by Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Jalen Carter was considered as a possible #1 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

An arrest warrant has been issued for prospective first overall NFL draft pick Jalen Carter for his alleged role in a January traffic accident that killed a University of Georgia teammate and recruiter.

The Athens-Clark County Police Department is looking for a Georgia defense attorney on charges of reckless driving and racing after an investigation revealed Carter allegedly was involved in street racing with Chandler LeCroy on Jan. 15. fitter Devin Willock was killed when a Ford Expedition LeCroy drove off the road at high speed and crashed into two telephone poles. Two other occupants of Lecroy’s car were injured, and police quickly determined speed was the cause of the accident.

From Athens-Clark County Police:

“The investigation revealed that Chandler LeCroy, driver of the 2021 Ford Expedition, and Jalen Carter, driver of the 2021 Jeep Trackhawk, were driving their cars in accordance with the races shortly after leaving downtown Athens at approximately 2:30 am. the evidence showed that both vehicles were switching lanes, driving in the center turn lane, driving in oncoming lanes, overtaking other motorists and moving at high speed in an apparent attempt to overtake each other. Evidence showed that shortly before the crash, the expedition was moving at a speed of about 104 miles per hour. The toxicology report indicated that Lecroy’s blood alcohol concentration at the time of the accident was 0.197. Investigators determined that drunkenness, racing, reckless driving and speed were significant contributing factors to the crash.”

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Carter was at the crash site and left before rescuers arrived. According to the report, “he gave varying accounts of the crash when an Athens police officer questioned him about whether he had raced the crashed car” after he returned to the crash site about 90 minutes after it happened. The report notes that Carter was called back to the crash site by Georgia Director of Player Support and Operations Bryant Gantt at the request of the police after Gantt arrived at the crash site.

The AJC report notes that police were able to obtain video from the city’s surveillance cameras of the route the vehicles were taking on the night of the accident. The accident occurred in the early hours of the morning after the Georgia National Championship celebrations and the players and recruiting staff were last at a strip club in downtown Athens on their way to Waffle House when the accident occurred.

The expedition driven by Lecroy was leased by the university, and AJC was informed by Georgia officials that she was not authorized to drive the vehicle. Midfielder Jamon Dumas-Johnson was also questioned at the crash site. Last week, he was charged with reckless driving in a separate incident in January.

“The allegations announced today are deeply concerning, especially as we are still grappling with the terrible loss of two beloved members of our community,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said in a statement.

“We will continue to fully cooperate with the authorities in supporting these families and assessing what we can learn from this terrible tragedy.”

Carter is Potential Pick #1

Carter is widely regarded as one of the best defensive players in the NFL Draft and a possible No. 1 overall pick if the Chicago Bears do not make a trade with a team seeking the No. 1 QB overall.

Carter played a pivotal role for Georgia as the Bulldogs won back-to-back national titles. Over the past two seasons, he has had six sacks and 18.5 tackles per loss. Carter suffered a knee injury that saw him miss time in 2022, but was still the focus of regular dual teams while he was on the field. A season ago as a junior, he had 32 tackles in 13 games.

The arrest warrant was announced Wednesday while Carter was at an NFL training camp. He was scheduled to speak to reporters as part of his participation in the union on Wednesday morning, but that appearance was canceled as the NFL said Carter was still undergoing a medical and would not be able to speak.

On Wednesday afternoon, Carter said he would return to Athens from the mill due to the warrants and said he had no doubt that he would be “fully acquitted of any criminal wrongdoing.”

“I received a call this morning from the Athens, Georgia Police Department, informing me that two warrants were issued against me for reckless driving and racing. Numerous reports circulated in the media this morning misrepresenting the tragic events of January 15, 2023, Carter said in a statement posted on social media. “I intend to return to Athens to answer the wrongdoing charges against me and make sure the full and exact truth is presented. I have no doubt that when all the facts are known, I will be fully acquitted of any criminal offences.”


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