NFL draft prospect Jalen Carter pleads no contest to racing, reckless driving charges

NFL draft prospect Jalen Carter has reached a plea agreement with Georgia prosecutors to resolve the charges filed against him in connection with a fatal car crash earlier this year.

Athens-Clarke County Solicitor General Will Fleenor and Carter’s attorney, Kim Stephens, said Thursday that Carter pleaded no contest to charges of racing and reckless driving, which are both misdemeanors, in connection with the crash that killed Georgia teammate Devin Willock and recruiting staffer Chandler LeCroy on Jan. 15.

Carter’s sentence will include 12 months of probation, 50 hours of community service, a $1,000 fine and participation in a defensive driving course. He will not serve jail time.

“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,” Stephens said in a statement. “Mr. Carter continues to grieve for the loss of his friends and continues to pray for their families, as well as for the continued healing for injured friends.”.

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Fleenor said in a news release that Carter, 21, also will not be permitted to drive in Georgia for 120 days. He also acknowledged that there have been questions regarding “the severity of the charges that were brought” against Carter and “whether more serious offenses occurred.”.

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“Law enforcement officers did evaluate whether more serious charges would have been appropriate,” Fleenor said. “However, after consultation with the District Attorney’s Office, the Solicitor’s Office and the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council, based on the evidence and applicable laws in this case, it was determined that the appropriate charges were the two traffic offenses that were resolved in court (Thursday) morning.”.

Carter’s plea came one day after the defensive lineman participated in position drills at Georgia’s pro day, where he appeared out of breath at times, did not complete his set of position drills and declined to speak with reporters, according to multiple reports. He has been widely discussed as a potential top pick in the NFL draft next month, though the charges filed against him raised new questions about his draft stock.

Carter turned himself in to authorities on March 1, leaving the NFL scouting combine and traveling to Georgia after a warrant was issued for his arrest.

As part of their investigation into the Jan. 15 crash, police found that Carter and LeCroy, the recruiting staffer, were “operating their vehicles in a manner consistent with racing.” LeCroy’s vehicle was traveling 104 mph shortly before impact, police said, and LeCroy was later found to have a blood alcohol concentration of .197.

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Willock, an offensive lineman at Georgia, was among the three passengers in her vehicle. Two others – Georgia offensive lineman Warren McClendon and recruiting staffer Victoria “Tory” Bowles – sustained injuries.

In his statement Thursday, Stephens said Carter did not cause the crash, did not leave the scene without permission and was not under the influence of alcohol or other illegal substances.

Contact Tom Schad at [email protected] or on Twitter @Tom_Schad.

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