Jalen Carter, a star football player for the University of Georgia, turned himself into police in Athens, Georgia, on Wednesday night. He was charged with causing a crash that killed a teammate and a staff member just hours after the Bulldogs won the national championship.
Carter, who is expected to be a top pick in the NFL draught next month, turned himself into the Athens-Clarke County Jail on charges of reckless driving and racing, jail records show. He was taken into custody at 11:33 p.m. and released at 11:49 p.m.
More than four months before the fatal crash on January 15, Carter was given three traffic tickets, including one for speeding at nearly twice the legal limit, according to documents and body camera video that CNN got from the Athens-Clarke County Police Department.
In January, Carter’s teammate Devin Willock and a member of the football team’s staff, Chandler LeCroy, died in a car crash. The crash happened just hours after the team marched through campus to celebrate winning its second straight national title.
Police have said that Willock, LeCroy, and two other football players were in a Ford SUV that LeCroy was driving near campus. Athens-Clarke County police said the SUV was going “about 104 miles per hour” before it went off the road and crashed into two power poles and several trees.
Authorities said that Carter was driving a different car and that it looked like he and LeCroy were racing.
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Athens-Clarke County police said that the evidence showed that both cars changed lanes, drove in the center turn lane, drove in opposite lanes of travel, passed other cars, and drove at high speeds as if they were trying to get ahead of each other.
Carter posted a response to the accusations on his verified Twitter account on Wednesday. He said, “This morning I got a call from the Athens, Georgia, police department telling me that two misdemeanor warrants have been issued against me for reckless driving and racing.
“I plan to go back to Athens to answer the misdemeanor charges against me and make sure that the full and correct truth is told. “When all the facts are known, there is no doubt in my mind that I will be cleared of any criminal wrongdoing,” he wrote.
Lt. Shaun Barnett of the Athens-Clarke County police says that Carter talked to police the night of the crash.
Georgia’s head football coach, Kirby Smart, said that the charges against Carter are “deeply concerning,” especially since the deaths of two beloved people in the community are still hard to deal with.
Smart said in a written statement, “We will continue to work with the police and help these families while figuring out what we can learn from this terrible tragedy.”
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Investigators have also said that alcohol seemed to play a role in the crash that killed people.
Police say that LeCroy’s blood alcohol level was.197, which is more than twice the legal limit in Georgia. He was driving an unapproved university vehicle at the time of the crash.
Willock was thrown out of the car and died at the scene. LeCroy died at a hospital nearby. Officials say that the two other people in the car were hurt.
Carter got a speeding ticket months before the crash that killed him.
On September 22, months before the deaths, Carter is pulled over for going too fast. On body camera footage, an officer can be heard calling him “reckless” and giving him three tickets.
Carter got a ticket that said he was going 89 mph in a 45 mph zone. He was given a second ticket for having “material attached” to his car that “blocks vision.” A third ticket was for an illegal tint on the windscreen.
Carter was driving a Black Jeep when the body cam video from the stop was taken. The video shows that the officer held up a radar gun that showed a speed of 89 mph.
On the video, Carter doesn’t move as the officer says the names of two other UGA athletes he recently stopped.
The officer can be heard telling Carter, “Y’all need to slow down, dude.” Carter didn’t answer.
“Look, I don’t know if you guys need to send a text or something to other teammates, but slow down,” the officer said, adding, “That was dangerous.”
“Tell your teammates to slow down when you’re near them,” the officer said.
The officer then checked Carter’s car’s tint, which he said was against Georgia law. “You can’t put anything on the front window. Nothing on it at all, all right?”
“Your lucky break is that you won’t go to jail. This is your time off. Because that would be all over the news, okay?” In the video, Carter can hear what the officer tells him.
The player was nervous and smiled. The officer said, “You’re getting a ticket for speeding.”
The officer also said, “Okay, slow down. All I want is that.”
CNN tried to get a comment from Carter’s agent, but they did not answer the phone. There were no records right away about how the traffic violations were handled.
Carter Could Be the First Player Taken in The Nfl Draught
Adam Schefter of ESPN and Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network said that Carter has gone back to the NFL combine in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Carter is not working out at the combine. A combine is a four-day event for teams to look for draft-eligible talent, and teams can only attend if they are invited. Most of the time, the most sought-after NFL prospects, like Carter, attend the combine for things like interviews and measurements but don’t take part in the physical events.
Schefter and Rapoport both say, based on information from unnamed sources, that Carter went back to finish his interviews, measurements, and other tasks.
CNN has asked Carter’s agents and the NFL what they think about it.
Carter, who won’t play his senior year, has been talked about as a possible No. 1 pick in the NFL draught in April. He was an important part of Georgia’s defense, which in 2022 gave up the fewest rushing yards per game (77.1) and made several All-America teams.