NFL Draft prospect Jalen Carter facing charges after NJ native killed in crash

Georgia defensive tackle Jalen Carter, projected as one of the top players in next month’s NFL draft, has been charged with reckless driving and racing in conjunction with the crash that killed New Jersey native Devin Willock and a recruiting staff member.

Jalen Carter is a defensive tackle with the Georgia Bulldogs and is a projected top pick in this year’s NFL draft.

Athens, Georgia, police are now alleging Carter was racing before the Jan. 15 crash that killed teammate Devin Willock, a New Milford native, and a recruiting staffer for the University of Georgia, Chandler LeCroy.

In his first public comments since being issued warrants for his arrest, Jalen Carter said Wednesday he would return to Athens to “make certain that the complete and accurate truth is presented.”

“There is no question in my mind that when all of the facts are known that I will be fully exonerated of all wrongdoing,” he said.

Both LeCroy, a Georgia staffer, and Devin Willock were killed. Their Ford Expedition was traveling at around 104 mph and LeCroy’s blood alcohol concentration was .197. The legal limit in Georgia is .08.

Carter is the No. 1 overall prospect in this year’s draft, according to ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. Carter had been due in Indianapolis on Wednesday for the NFL scouting combine and is expected to address the arrest warrant when he returns to Athens.

Carter’s representatives told police in Athens that they were “making arrangements for (Carter) to turn himself in,” Shaun Barnett, a spokesman for the Athens-Clarke County Police Department, has told ABC News.

The crash occurred just hours after the Bulldogs celebrated their second straight national championship with a parade and ceremony.

Georgia coach Kirby Smart expressed his concern about the charges in a statement issued Wednesday:

“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. We will continue to cooperate fully with the authorities while supporting these families and assessing what we can learn from this horrible tragedy.”

Willock, 20, was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash. LeCroy was transported to a hospital, where she died from her injuries.

Offensive lineman Warren McClendon, who had just announced plans to enter the NFL draft, suffered minor injuries. Georgia football staffer Victoria Bowles was hospitalized with more serious injuries.

Georgia athletic department officials said on Jan. 28 that the vehicle driven by LeCroy was expected to be used only for recruiting activities, not personal use.

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