Jalen Carter confident of exoneration from reckless driving and racing charge
Jalen Carter is confident he will be "fully exonerated" of criminal wrongdoing after warrants for the 2023 NFL Draft prospect's arrest were issued on Wednesday.
The Georgia defensive tackle is considered by many to be the best player in this year's draft and was due to speak with the media at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.
But he is instead heading back to Athens, Georgia after warrants for his arrest were issued on the basis of a charge of reckless driving and racing amid an investigation into the January 15 road accident that killed a player and recruiting staffer from the University of Georgia.
Carter was allegedly street racing with Georgia staffer Chandler LeCroy, who died along with Bulldogs offensive lineman Devin Willock when the car they were travelling in left the road and hit nearby power poles and trees.
In a statement posted to his Twitter account, Carter wrote: "This morning I received a telephone call from the Athens Georgia Police Department informing me that two misdemeanour warrants have been issued against me for reckless driving and racing.
"Numerous media reports have also circulated this morning containing inaccurate information concerning the tragic events of January 15, 2023.
"It is my intention to return to Athens to answer the misdemeanour charges against me and 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 any criminal wrongdoing."
Earlier, the Athens-Clarke County Police Department released a statement that read: "As a result of the ongoing investigation into the January 15, 2023, fatal crash that occurred in the 900 block of Barnett Shoals Road, the Athens-Clarke County Police Department has secured arrest warrants for Jalen Carter, 21, for Reckless Driving and Racing.
"The investigation found that Chandler LeCroy, driver of the 2021 Ford Expedition, and Jalen Carter, driver of a 2021 Jeep Trackhawk, were operating their vehicles in a manner consistent with racing shortly after leaving the downtown Athens area at about 2:30 AM.
"The evidence demonstrated that both vehicles switched between lanes, drove in the center turn lane, drove in opposite lanes of travel, overtook other motorists and drove at high rates of speed in an apparent attempt to outdistance each other. Evidence indicated that shortly before the crash the Expedition was travelling at about 104 miles per hour.
"The toxicology report indicated that LeCroy's blood alcohol concentration was .197 at the time of the crash. Investigators determined that alcohol impairment, racing, reckless driving and speed were significant contributing factors to the crash.
"The case will be given to the Solicitor General's Office."
A unanimous All-American last season, Carter helped Georgia to successive National Championships during his college career. He is considered a candidate to be the first overall pick, though the apparently increasing probability of the Chicago Bears trading that selection means it is more likely a quarterback will come off the board first next month in Kansas City.