Police have issued arrest warrants for Jalen Carter, the former football star at the University of Georgia and top NFL prospect who is now being charged for his alleged involvement in a fatal car crash that left two people dead in January.
Carter, 21, faces charges for reckless driving and racing, the Athens-Clarke County Police Department announced on Wednesday. He is accused in connection with an accident, initially characterized as a single-vehicle crash near the university campus on Jan. 15, which killed fellow Georgia football player Devin Willock and team staff member Chandler LeCroy.
LeCroy, a 24-year-old recruiting analyst for the Bulldogs football team and graduate from the University of Georgia, was operating the car when it "left the roadway, striking two power poles and several trees" at around 2:45 a.m., police said in a statement issued directly after the wreck. Willock, an 20-year-old offensive lineman for the Bulldogs, was inside the vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene. LeCroy was transferred to a nearby hospital where she later died from her injuries, according to police.
A subsequent investigation found that LeCroy, driving a 2021 Ford Expedition, and Carter, driving a 2021 Jeep Trackhawk, "were operating their vehicles in a manner consistent with racing" leading up to the deadly crash, police said on Wednesday. Both vehicles had left the downtown Athens area at around 2:30 a.m. that morning, and proceeded to switch between lanes, drive in the center turn lane and drive "in opposite lanes of travel" while overtaking other motorists while driving at high speeds, "in an apparent attempt to outdistance each other."
In their announcement Wednesday, Athens-Clarke County police said that evidence suggested LeCroy's car was traveling at about 104 miles per hour before the crash, and noted that her blood alcohol concentration was 0.197 when the accident occurred.
"Investigators determined that alcohol impairment, racing, reckless driving, and speed were significant contributing factors to the crash," police said.
Carter left the scene of the crash before returning, about an hour later, to provide statements to police, CBS Sports reported. Additional interviews reviewed by the Atlanta-Journal Constitution reportedly showed Carter misleading prosecutors as to his whereabouts at the time of the accident, first saying he was a mile away when it happened and later acknowledging that he was there, according to the newspaper.
Kirby Smart, the head football coach at the University of Georgia, responded to the arrest warrants in a statement released on Wednesday morning.
"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 said. "We will continue to cooperate fully with the authorities while supporting these families and assessing what we can learn from this horrible tragedy."
Carter is widely considered one of the top prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft, with plenty forecasting him as a top-five pick, according to CBS Sports. He earned unanimous All-American honors after a standout junior season at Georgia. Carter posted seven tackles for loss and three sacks from the defensive tackle position, standing as a catalyst behind Georgia's historic 15-0 campaign.