Georgia athletics, Jalen Carter sued by passenger in fatal crash of Bulldogs player and staffer
A woman seriously injured in the January car crash that killed Georgia offensive lineman Devin Willock and an athletics staffer has sued the school’s athletics association and former Bulldogs defensive tackle Jalen Carter for damages.
Victoria S. Bowles was riding in the backseat of the rented Ford Expedition driven by fellow UGA recruiting analyst Chandler LeCroy, who died in the Jan. 15 crash along with Willock while racing Carter at more than 104 mph following the Bulldogs’ College Football Playoff championship celebration.
Bowles’ lawsuit filed Wednesday in Gwinnett County State Court accuses the UGA Athletics Association of negligent entrustment of LeCroy and states that the association was aware that she had at least two “super speeder” violations among four speeding tickets prior to the crash.
Bowles sustained multiple serious injuries in the crash including lumbar and rib fractures, a spinal cord injury and lacerations to the kidney and liver, the lawsuit stated. She also sustained a closed head injury with neurological damage and severe eye pain.
Former Georgia offensive lineman Warren McClendon was also in the vehicle that crashed. He sustained minor injuries.
The lawsuit, which includes the estate of LeCroy as a defendant, requests at least $171,595 in general damages along with punitive damages. It accuses the athletic association, LeCroy and Carter of varying degrees of negligence.
The athletic association said in a statement that while it has supported Bowles during her recovery, it disputes her lawsuit and will “vigorously” defend itself in court. The statement added that staff members were to use rental vehicles for recruiting purposes only and not authorized for personal use on the night of the crash or any other time.
“Under no circumstances were recruiting staff authorized to use rental cars to drive at excessive speeds while intoxicated,” the statement added.
Rob Buck, one of Bowles’ lawyers, said in a statement that she is “deeply saddened” by the deaths of Willock and LeCroy and expressed appreciation for the support she has received during recovery.
“Tory is disappointed that the Association and its insurers have forced her to resort to litigation to address her life altering injuries,” the statement added.
Carter, who was selected ninth overall by the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFL draft in April, received 12 months’ probation and a $1,000 fine in March after pleading no contest to misdemeanor charges of reckless driving and racing.
Bowles’ lawsuit accuses him and LeCroy of “engaging in a grossly negligent joint enterprise-tandem driving/street racing.”
A representative for Carter wasn’t immediately able to be reached.