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Eagles' Jalen Carter named in $40M lawsuit by father of Georgia teammate who died in fatal January crash

Jalen Carter, recently selected with the Philadelphia Eagles' No. 9 pick in the NFL Draft, is now named in a $40 million lawsuit related to his involvement in a deadly car crash that killed his Georgia teammate Devin Willock and university staffer Chandler LeCroy.

Dave Willock Sr., Devin's father, filed the complaint against Carter, the university's athletic association and LeCroy's estate. LeCroy was driving the SUV Willock was in at the time of the crash — which police said reached up to 104 mph. Police also reported the 24-year-old LeCroy had a blood alcohol concentration of .197, more than twice the legal limit in Georgia.

The suit is seeking $40 million from the defendants, including $10 million from Carter. The amount "represents what his son would have made if he had gotten to the NFL," according to a report from WSB-TV. Willock, an offensive lineman, appeared in every game Georgia played last season.

LeCroy was reportedly racing another car driven by Carter, who reportedly left the scene before emergency personnel arrived and told personnel he was a mile away at the time of the deadly crash.

According to the Athens-Clarke County Police, the single-vehicle crash happened at 2:45 a.m. ET when the 2021 Ford Expedition driven by LeCroy veered off the side of the road and slammed into two telephone poles and several trees. Willock, a 20-year-old redshirt sophomore, was reportedly dead when emergency responders arrived. LeCroy was taken to the hospital and died from her injuries shortly after.

The crash happened hours after Georgia celebrated its national championship win over TCU.

Carter, who was in early discussions for the No. 1 pick, was charged with misdemeanor reckless driving and racing in relation to the accident. He pleaded no contest and was sentenced to 12 months probation, 80 hours of community service, the completion of a driving course and ordered to pay a $1,000 fine.

The defensive tackle reportedly signed a fully guaranteed four-year, $21.8 million contract with the Eagles.

Newly drafted Philadelphia Eagles' Jalen Carter speaks during a news conference at the NFL football team's training facility, Friday, April 28, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Newly drafted Philadelphia Eagles' Jalen Carter speaks during a news conference at the NFL football team's training facility, Friday, April 28, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum) (ASSOCIATED PRESS)

Willock Sr. reportedly first notified the university of his intentions to seek $2 million in damages last month. He alleges the athletic department acted "negligently" by allowing LeCroy to drive after a night of documented partying and a history of speeding tickets.

"The purpose of this lawsuit is for accountability," Williams Stiles, Willock Sr.'s attorney told Action News.

The University of Georgia Athletic Association responded to the complaint in a statement:

"The attorneys who filed the complaint have refused to provide any factual basis for their claims against the athletic association, and we believe the evidence will prove them to be without merit," it said. "We intend to strongly dispute these baseless allegations in Court."