Jalen Carter, a standout defensive lineman from Georgia who could be the No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming NFL Draft, was jailed Wednesday night on reckless driving and highway and street racing charges.
Carter was initially in Indianapolis to participate in the NFL Scouting Combine, but rushed back to Atlanta, where a warrant was issued for his arrest for his alleged role in a crash that killed one of his Georgia teammates and another staff member. football team. He was booked at 11:33 pm ET at the Athens-Clarke County Jail and released.d at 11:49 p.m. Eastern time.
The 21-year-old released a statement on the matter before returning to Georgia to turn himself in, saying he would be «fully exonerated of any wrongdoing.»
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«This morning I received a phone call from the Athens, Georgia Police Department informing me that two misdemeanor warrants have been issued against me for reckless driving and racing,» Carter’s statement read Wednesday. «There have also been numerous media reports circulating this morning containing inaccurate information about the tragic events of January 15, 2023. I intend to return to Athens to answer the misdemeanor charges against me and ensure that I appear the complete and accurate truth. There is no doubt in my mind that when all the facts are known, I will be completely exonerated of any wrongdoing.»
Carter is accused of racing his 2021 Jeep Trackhawk against the 2021 Ford Expedition driven by Chandler LeCroy, 24, a recruiting staffer, leading to the Jan. 15 accident. The accident occurred just hours after the Bulldogs celebrated their second straight championship with a parade ceremony. Georgia offensive lineman Devin Willock was also killed in the crash.
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«The charges announced today are deeply troubling, especially as we are still struggling to cope with the devastating loss of two beloved members of our community,» Georgia coach Kirby Smart said. «We will continue to fully cooperate with authorities as we support these families and assess what we can learn from this horrific tragedy.»
Georgia offensive lineman Warren McClendon, who had just announced plans to enter the NFL Draft, suffered minor injuries in the crash. Georgia soccer staff member Victoria Bowles was hospitalized with more serious injuries.
Nolan Smith, a former Georgia linebacker, was on hand at the scouting combine and was emotional as he spoke about the fatal incident.
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«This is the first time I’ve talked about it,» Smith said. «That’s my boy. That’s a person who never did anything wrong. I get sensitive talking about it just because I love him. He never did anything wrong in his three years.»
Associated Press contributed to this report.