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Eagles’ newly minted draft pick Jalen Carter named in $40 million wrongful death lawsuit in crash that killed UGA teammate, Bulldogs recruiter

From left: Devin Willock, Chandler LeCroy, and Jalen Carter (Willock and Carter photos from Associated Press; Screenshot of LeCroy via

From left: Devin Willock, Chandler LeCroy, and Jalen Carter (Willock and Carter photos from Associated Press; Screenshot of LeCroy via

The father of a University of Georgia player killed in a car crash has filed a $40 million lawsuit against the college’s athletic association and former star football player and Philadelphia Eagles’ rookie defensive tackle Jalen Carter.

Dave Willock Sr., whose sophomore offensive lineman son, Devin Willock, died in the crash, is seeking $30 million from the defendants in compensatory damages and an additional $10 million in punitive damages from Carter, according to the lawsuit obtained by WSBTV.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in a state court in Georgia, alleges wrongful death, negligent hiring, and negligence. It names the University of Georgia’s Athletic Association, Carter, and other parties.

Carter, allegedly driving on a suspended license, had been racing over 100 mph with an SUV driven by Chandler LeCroy, 24, a Bulldogs recruiting analyst who also died in the crash, according to the lawsuit. Willock was a passenger in LeCroy’s vehicle.

William Stiles, the lawyer representing Willock’s father, told WSBTV that LeCroy and Carter shouldn’t have been driving, and the Athletic Association knew it.

“The Athletic Association should have taken steps to ensure that she was, in fact, not driving the vehicle,” Stiles told the station.

In a statement emailed to Law&Crime, the University of Georgia Athletic Association said it intends to “strongly dispute these baseless allegations in Court.”

“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,” the statement said.

Stiles and Carter’s lawyer didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment from Law&Crime.

The crash occurred at 2:45 a.m. on Jan. 15, hours after a parade celebrating the Bulldogs’ undefeated season with their second straight NCAA national championship.

Police said LeCroy was driving a rented 2021 Ford Expedition while Carter was driving his 2021 Jeep Cherokee Trackhawk. Both drivers were allegedly “operating their vehicles in a manner consistent with racing” after they left the festivities in downtown Athens at 2:30 a.m.

Investigators say 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.”

LeCroy’s Expedition was traveling at 104 mph shortly before crashing into two power poles and several trees. Willock, 20, who was not wearing a seatbelt, was ejected from the vehicle and died. LeCroy died at a hospital.

Offensive tackle Warren McClendon, 21, and recruiting staffer Tory Bowles, 26, were also injured.

According to investigators, LeCroy’s blood alcohol content was more than twice the legal limit for driving in Georgia.

Carter surrendered to authorities and ultimately entered a no-contest plea on reckless driving and racing charges, paid a fine and received 12 months probation.

In a statement published by WSBTV after Carter’s plea agreement on March 16, attorney Kim T. Stephens said:

“We are happy that we were able to work with the Solicitor General’s office to reach a resolution that was fair and just and based on the evidence in this case. Mr. Carter continues to grieve the loss of his friends and continues to pray for their families, as well as for continued healing for injured friends.”

Carter, 22, a former Bulldogs star, signed a four-year, $21.8 million contract with the Philadelphia Eagles after being selected as their No. 9 pick in the NFL Draft, the team reported in April.

Eagles general manager Howie Roseman said the team vetted his character, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported.

“We understand that all these players, they need to be developed,” Roseman said, the paper reported. “They’re coming into the league at a very young age. They’re not finished products. I think all of us when we were 21 and 22 hopefully have grown a lot from that time, and you just really want to get to know the person and what’s in their heart.”

Law&Crime’s Jerry Lambe contributed to this report.

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