Georgia’s Jalen Carter Accused in Car Crash That Killed Two People

Jalen Carter, a potential top-five pick in the coming N.F.L. draft, was booked on misdemeanor charges on Wednesday night in connection with a car crash in January that killed two people, including a University of Georgia teammate. The crash took place hours after the team’s parade for winning the national championship.

The arrest warrants accused Carter of reckless driving and racing.

The Athens-Clarke County Police Department said that Carter, who had not been publicly connected to the crash before Wednesday, had been racing his Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk with a Ford Expedition driven by Chandler LeCroy, a recruiting analyst for the team.

According to the police account, both cars were traveling in excess of the speed limit, and darted into oncoming traffic lanes ahead of the crash in Athens, Ga., on Jan. 15. 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 Devin Willock, 20, a redshirt sophomore on the team. Two other passengers in the car were hurt.

Toxicology reports indicated that LeCroy was intoxicated at the time of the crash.

In a statement posted to his social media account, Carter, 21, said that news accounts contained “inaccurate information” about what happened the night of the crash. “There is no question in my mind that when all the facts are known that I will be fully exonerated of any criminal wrongdoing,” he added.

Carter turned himself in at a jail in Athens on Wednesday night and was released about 15 minutes later. He is to be arraigned in April.

Allegations of his involvement were first reported by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, which said he had given conflicting statements to the police about his whereabouts at the time of the crash.

“The charges announced today are deeply concerning,” Georgia Coach Kirby Smart said in a statement, “especially as we are still struggling to cope with the devastating loss of two beloved members of our community.”

Carter, a defensive tackle, is considered one of the top prospects for the N.F.L. draft in April and was in Indianapolis for the league’s scouting combine when the warrants were issued. He had been scheduled to speak to the news media there on Wednesday morning, but did not appear.

Scott Fitterer, general manager of the Carolina Panthers, told reporters on Wednesday that team executives had interviewed Carter on Monday night as part of their preparation for making the ninth overall pick in the draft. Fitterer said he heard the news of the charges against Carter on Wednesday morning but had yet to discuss it with his staff.

“I don’t want to jump to any conclusions,” Fitterer said. “We’ll let it all play out and make a decision.”

Kris Rhim contributed reporting from Indianapolis.