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NFL prospect Jalen Carter sentenced to probation in reckless driving, racing case

Former Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter (88) pleaded no contest to two misdemeanor charges Thursday in Athens, Ga. File Photo by Mike Goulding/UPI
Former Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter (88) pleaded no contest to two misdemeanor charges Thursday in Athens, Ga. File Photo by Mike Goulding/UPI | License Photo

March 16 (UPI) -- Top NFL Draft prospect Jalen Carter was sentenced to probation, a fine and community, as well as complete a driving course, stemming from charges related to a fatal car crash, his attorney said Thursday.

"We are happy that we were able to work with the solicitor general's office to reach a resolution that was fair and just based on the evidence in this case," Kim T. Stephens said in a news release.

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"Mr. Carter continues to grieve the loss of his friends and continues to pray for their families, as well as for continued healing for injured friends."

Carter, who faced reckless driving and racing misdemeanor charges, was sentenced to 12 months' probation, a $1,000 and 80 hours of community service, in addition to required completion of a defensive driving course.

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Carter, 21, previously said he expected to be "fully exonerated of any criminal wrongdoing."

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The Athens-Clarke County Police Department announced earlier this month that an arrest warrant was issued for Carter in connection to the crash, which occurred Jan. 15 in Athens, hours after the Bulldogs participated in a parade to celebrate their national championship.

Carter turned himself into Athens, Ga., authorities March 1, and was quickly released from Athens-Clarke County Jail without bond.

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Former Bulldogs offensive lineman Devin Willock and recruiting staff member Chandler LeCroy were killed in what police previously reported as a single-vehicle accident, but later appeared to have involved two vehicles racing.

Police said investigators found that LeCroy, who drove a 2021 Ford Expedition, and Carter, who drove a 2021 Jeep Trackhawk, were operating their vehicles in a "manner consistent with racing" about 2:30 a.m. on the day of the crash.

Investigators cited evidence of aggressive driving, including lane switches, driving the wrong direction and over the center turn lane and passing other motorists at high speeds.

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Police also said evidence indicated that the Expedition was traveling at 104 mph before the crash. LeCroy had a blood alcohol concentration of .197% at the time of the crash, according to a toxicology report. The legal blood alcohol limit in Georgia for adults not operating a commercial vehicle is .08%.

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Stephens said Thursday that Carter "never left the scene of the accident without being told that he could leave." That was alleged in an Atlanta Journal-Constitution report on March 1.

The outlet obtained documents and recordings of 911 calls, which allegedly revealed that Carter left the scene before police and emergency personnel arrived.

Stephens said Thursday that a police investigation, warrants taken for the charges and the accusation filed against Carter "demonstrate some key facts that should debunk false information that spread online" and in the media after Carter was arrested.

With Carter's plea entry, Georgia is barred from bringing additional charges against him for conduct that allegedly occurred on Jan. 15, his attorney said.

The former Georgia defensive tackle was projected as the No. 1 overall pick in many mock drafts before his arrest. Carter participated in Georgia's pro day Wednesday in Athens. He did not speak to reporters.

The 2023 NFL Draft will be held April 28 to 30 in Kansas City, Mo.

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