ATHENS, Ga. — Jalen Carter has pleaded no contest Thursday to misdemeanor charges of reckless driving and racing, his attorney, Kim Stephens, told ESPN.
The former Georgia star defensive lineman and top NFL draft prospect was sentenced to 12 months of probation, a $1,000 fine and 80 hours of community service and will attend a state-approved defensive driving course.
By resolving the matter, Stephens said, the state is forever barred from bringing additional charges against Carter.
“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. “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.”
In a statement to ESPN, Stephens said Carter did not cause a car wreck on Jan. 15, in which Georgia football player Devin Willock and recruiting staffer Chandler LeCroy were killed. Police alleged that LeCroy was driving an SUV that was racing Carter’s SUV before the wreck. According to police, LeCroy’s SUV was going 104 mph when it left the road and hit two power poles and several trees. Police said her blood alcohol concentration was .197, about 2 ½ times the legal limit in Georgia.
“If the investigation had determined otherwise, Mr. Carter would have been charged with the far more serious offenses of vehicular homicide and serious injury by vehicle under Georgia law, both felony offenses, and would have faced a lengthy prison sentence,” Stephens said in a statement.
Stephens said Carter never left the accident scene without being told he could leave. According to Stephens, Carter stopped his car and ran toward the wrecked car while his passenger called 911.
“Even after being informed that he could leave, Mr. Carter returned to the scene at the request of the Athens-Clarke County Police Department to answer additional questions and continued to cooperate in the investigation,” Stephens said.
According to Stephens, Carter had not been drinking alcohol and was not under the influence of alcohol or any illegal substances.
“If there had been any suspicion that Mr. Carter had consumed alcohol or used an illegal substance when Athens-Clarke County police officers and investigators spoke to him at the scene, following the accident, they would have arrested him for DUI,” Stephens wrote.
The no-contest plea came one day after Carter worked out in front of scouts and coaches from all 32 NFL teams at Georgia’s pro day. He didn’t speak to reporters Wednesday after missing his media session at the NFL scouting combine two weeks ago.
Once considered a potential No. 1 pick in next month’s draft, Carter weighed 323 pounds at the pro day — 9 pounds heavier than he was at the combine. He opted to do only position drills — which he didn’t finish — and didn’t participate in other aspects of the workout, including the 40-yard dash, cone drills and other physical tests.