ATHENS, Ga. — Jalen Carter pleaded no contest to traffic violations on Thursday, his attorney said, regarding an alleged racing incident that with a UGA staffer who crashed in January.
According to a statement from Carter's lawyer, Kim T. Stephens, Carter is not responsible for the "tragic accident involving Chandler LeCroy, Devin Willock, Victoria (Tori) Bowles and Warren McClendon."
LeCroy and Willock died in the crash, and Bowles was seriously injured. LeCroy was driving 104mph and had more than twice the legal blood alcohol concentration limit when she crashed, Athens-Clarke County Police have said.
About six weeks after the incident, Carter was charged with two misdemeanors for racing and reckless driving.
The sentence for Carter is to serve 12 months of probation, pay a $1,000 fine, perform 80 hours of community service and take a state-approved defensive driving course.
The Bulldogs defensive tackle and, at one point, projected No.1 pick in the upcoming NFL Draft left the NFL Draft Combine in Indianapolis on March 1 to travel to appear for an arrest warrant on the charges, before being released about 15 minutes later.
"The investigation, the warrants taken for misdemeanor traffic charges, and the Accusation filed against Mr. Carter in the Athens-Clarke County Municipal Court demonstrate some key facts that should debunk false information that spread online and in the media after Mr. Carter’s arrest," Stephens wrote in their statement.
His attorney added that the investigation by Athens-Clarke County Police Department led them to this decision and showed he did not cause the fatal crash. If police believed, the attorney said that Carter would have faced "far more serious offenses" and "a lengthy prison sentence."
Their statement went on the say that Carter was not drunk or under the influence of any other illegal substance when the crash happened, adding that if he were, officers would have arrested him for DUI at the scene.
The attorney also wrote that Carter stopped his car "immediately after the accident" and ran to the other car while his passenger called authorities and only left the scene where the accident happened "after being informed that he could leave."
Carter's lawyer also said he returned to the scene at the request of police "to answer additional questions and continued to cooperate throughout the investigation."
With the no-contest plea entered and accepted by the courts, Stephens said Georgia is never allowed to bring additional charges against Carted "for conduct alleged to have occurred on Jan. 15, 2023. "
MORE ON THE CASE
A University of Georgia staffer and player were killed during a car accident on Jan. 15; two others were involved, including a former UGA offensive lineman and another staffer who survived.
The tragic crash happened in the early morning hours following the team's championship parade and resulted in the death of player Devin Willock and team staffer Chandler LeCroy.
Following the crash, reports from the school said the car, a 2021 Ford Expedition, should not have been in use when it hit a curb, left the roadway, and hit a power pole.
Later information came out that the crash occurred as a result of the alleged race between LeCroy and Carter.
"The evidence demonstrated that both vehicles switched between lanes, drove in the center turn lane, drove in opposite lanes of travel, overtook other motorists, and drove at high rates of speed, in an apparent attempt to outdistance each other," the ACCPD statement said.