Police videos show desperate moments following crash that killed UGA player, staffer

The crash happened only hours after UGA’s national championship celebration.
Police videos show desperate moments following crash that killed UGA player, staffer
Published: Mar. 31, 2023 at 4:46 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 31, 2023 at 6:26 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - We’re seeing, for the first time, police videos showing the aftermath of a fatal crash that left two dead and cast a shadow over a star athlete’s future NFL career.

The videos were obtained by Atlanta News First Investigates through an open records request .

Athens-Clarke Police provided the body-worn camera videos to us along with interviews with those who were involved in the Jan. 15, 2023 crash, that killed University of Georgia football player Devin Willock and staff member Chandler LeCroy only hours after UGA’s national football championship parade.

The nearly eight hours of video from that night and interviews from the weeks that followed include interviews with people on scene the night of the crash, including former UGA football players.

These videos have given the most detailed look at the moments leading up to and following the deadly crash. Much of the aftermath captured on police body cameras is graphic and disturbing. Some of the video reveals an extraordinary effort to save lives. While rescuers were working on patients, investigators were already trying to figure out what happened and why.

One of the people interviewed on scene and the weeks following was former UGA offensive lineman Warren McClendon.

McClendon was in the front passenger seat of the Ford Expedition that crashed. He and UGA staffer Victoria Bowles were injured. Video from police show McClendon wandering around the scene of the crash. An officer telling him he needed stitches, but he refused an ambulance until UGA coaching staff arrived.

While calm on scene, McClendon appeared to be in shock. Police asked him what happened before the crash. He was asked where they were coming from, he responded saying they were coming from downtown Athens and heading to Waffle House.

“To be honest I don’t know, we just came around the corner and next thing you know, I was looking down at my phone,” McClendon told police.

Police interview with former UGA player Warren McClendon

When asked on scene how fast he believed LeCroy was driving, he responded saying he didn’t know. A few weeks later, in a follow up interview with investigators, McClendon gave further details.

“I could feel that she was going a little fast, but I’m not sure how fast she was going,” McClendon told police.

ORIGINAL STORY: UGA player, staffer among two dead after car crash in Athens-Clarke County

According to the video, medical personnel were treating Bowles who was laying on the ground. She repeatedly told first responders she was not in a car crash. They responded saying she was suffering from head trauma.

Investigators attempted to interview Bowles at the hospital about what happened leading up to the crash, but she refused to speak with them. Her father saying she was tired and had been through a lot.

Also involved in the crash was then-star UGA defensive lineman Jalen Carter, who had been cast as a future No. 1 draft pick in this month’s NFL draft. Police interviewed Carter on scene about his possible involvement in the crash.

Police: “So the next question I’m gonna ask you, I need you to be honest with me, okay? Were you guys racing to Waffle House?”

Carter: “Nah, I wasn’t”

Police: “Because I can tell you right now from looking at the damage to that car they were moving.”

Carter: “Yeah, they were drunk.”

Police: “Do you know who was driving that one?”

Carter: “Uh, I think it was one of the girls.”

Police: “Okay. How do you know the girls? What do they do?”

Carter: “They part of football. Everybody part of football.”

Jalen Carter questioned on scene of deadly crash involving UGA player, staffer

Carter was charged with street racing and reckless driving in connection to the crash. Carter has since pleaded no contest to two misdemeanor traffic violations and was sentenced to serve 12 months on probation; pay a $1,000 fine; perform 80 hours of community service; and complete a state-approved defensive driving course.

Carter was attending last month’s NFL combine in Indianapolis when he was notified of the charges. He left the combine to make his court appearance; was booked into jail; released; and then returned to the combine.

Athens-Clarke County police said alcohol impairment, racing, reckless driving, and speed were significant contributing factors to the crash. Police said Carter was racing with LeCroy in the moments leading up to the crash.

According to a toxicology report, police said LeCroy, the driver of the 2021 Ford Expedition involved in the crash, had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.197 percent at the time of the crash. The legal blood alcohol limit is 0.08.

UGA head football coach Kirby Smart has said he’s not considering any policy or structural changes to his football program in light of the off-field incidents.

“When you make mistakes that decisions that are costly, they can cost you your life. And that’s not to be taken lightly. And I think our guys understand that,” said Smart.

Smart said he brought in law enforcement experts in August to talk with the football team about the dangers of street racing.

“I think it’s important that if you play at the University of Georgia you represent the University of Georgia the right way,” Smart said. “But I also think that these are young men that are going to make mistakes. And I’m a big believer in education, helping them to become better.”

Atlanta News First Investigates is continuing to review all of the video and interviews we obtained, and will continue to update this story.