Top NFL draft prospect Jalen Carter was booked at 11:33 p.m. ET on Wednesday night on misdemeanor charges of reckless driving and racing, the Athens-Clarke County police department announced.
The charges against Carter stem from a Jan. 15 crash that killed a Georgia teammate and staff member.
The former Bulldogs defensive lineman was released at 11:49 p.m. after posting a $4,000 bond.
Arrest warrants were issued for Carter earlier Wednesday, the Athens-Clarke County police department announced. Carter and Chandler LeCroy, the Georgia staffer killed in the crash, were found to be “operating their vehicles in a manner consistent with racing.” The two “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.”
Athens-Clarke County police department said Jan. 15 that LeCroy and Georgia offensive lineman Devin Willock were killed in the wreck after LeCroy’s Ford Expedition left the roadway, striking two power poles and several trees. Willock was announced dead at the scene, while LeCroy died from her injuries after being transported to the hospital.
A toxicology report indicated that LeCroy’s blood alcohol concentration was .197 at the time of the crash. The police department’s investigation ruled that alcohol impairment, racing, reckless driving, and speed were significant factors in the crash.
Carter released a statement later Wednesday stating that he was on his way back to Athens to answer the charges against him.
“This morning, I received a telephone call from the Athens, Georgia police department informing me that two misdemeanor warrants have been issued against me for reckless driving and racing,” Carter said.
“It is my intention to return to Athens to answer the misdemeanor charges against me and to make certain that the complete and accurate truth is presented. There is no question in my mind that when all the facts are known that I will be fully exonerated of any criminal wrongdoing.”
Carter was slated to participate in a media availability session Wednesday at the NFL combine, but his appearance was canceled, NFL spokesperson Michael Signora said, according to The Athletic’s Matt Schneidman. Carter still took part in medical testing.
Georgia head coach Kirby Smart said the program will continue to work with the authorities in light of the warrants issued for Carter.
“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 wrote in a statement Wednesday. “We will continue to cooperate with the authorities while supporting these families and assessing what we can learn from this horrible tragedy.”
The crash occurred just hours after the Bulldogs celebrated their second straight national championship with a parade and ceremony.
Carter is regarded as one of the top prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft, with many analysts projecting him to go first overall.
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