Jalen Carter, a 21-year-old defensive tackle for the University of Georgia, pleaded no contest on Thursday to two misdemeanor charges of reckless driving and racing that stemmed from a car crash in January that killed two people, his lawyer Kim Stephens said in a statement.
Carter, who is a potential top-five pick in the N.F.L. draft in April, was sentenced to 12 months on probation and will be required to pay a $1,000 fine, perform 80 hours of community service and complete a state-approved defensive driving course. He will not serve any jail time and cannot face additional charges in connection with the crash.
The crash killed Devin Willock, Carter’s teammate at the University of Georgia, and Chandler LeCroy, a recruiting analyst, the morning after a parade on Jan. 14 celebrating the team for winning the national championship.
Carter’s connection to the crash was not publicly revealed until March 1, when he attended the N.F.L.’s scouting combine in Indianapolis. He returned to Athens-Clarke County to surrender to the police on warrants accusing him of racing his Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk with a Ford Expedition driven by LeCroy. According to the police account, both cars were speeding and darted into oncoming traffic ahead of the crash in Athens, Ga.
The Expedition was traveling at about 100 miles per hour when it left the road and crashed into a power pole, killing LeCroy, 24, and Willock, 20, a redshirt sophomore on the team. Two other passengers were hurt.
Toxicology reports indicated that LeCroy had been intoxicated at the time of the crash.
Stephens called the deal “fair and just and based on the evidence in this case,” adding that, “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.”
Willock’s family previously said they had no plans to take legal action. LeCroy’s mother declined to comment.
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution first reported Carter’s involvement and law enforcement’s accusation that he gave conflicting statements about his whereabouts at the time of the crash.
Carter’s plea came a day after he worked out in front of N.F.L. scouts, coaches and general managers at Georgia’s pro day. According to a source who attended the workout and was not authorized to speak publicly, Carter weighed in at 323 pounds, nine pounds over his measurement at the scouting combine, and did not make it through some drills because of exhaustion.
Kirsten Noyes contributed research.
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