Dad of Georgia’s Devin Willock demands $2 million in fatal accident

Markus SchlabachESPN Senior Writer6:56 p.m. ET3 minutes read

Lawyers representing the father and estate of a Georgia soccer player who was killed in a car accident in January have informed the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia that they intend to seek $2 million in damages for his death seeking wrongful death, according to documents obtained by ESPN through an open record request.

Attorneys representing Devin Willock’s father, Dave, on April 11 sent a legal notice to the Board of Regents and others required when filing legal action against Georgia state entities. State authorities cannot be sued for more than $2 million under Georgian law.

Devin Willock, an offensive lineman, and recruiter Chandler LeCroy were killed in a wreck Jan. 15, hours after the Bulldogs celebrated their second straight national championship with an on-campus parade and ceremony. Police claimed that LeCroy was driving an SUV, which was driving Jalen Carter’s SUV in front of the wreck.

Former Georgia player Warren McClendon and another staffer, Tory Bowles, were injured but survived.

According to police, LeCroy’s SUV was traveling at 104 mph when it went off the road and struck two utility poles and several trees. Police said her blood alcohol concentration was 0.197, about 2½ times the legal limit in Georgia.

Lawyers for Dave Willock allege that UGA officials were aware of LeCroy’s driving history, which includes four speeding tickets over the past six years.

“To be clear, UGA and [University of Georgia Athletic Association] Agents and associates negligently entrusted a vehicle to LeCroy,” the attorneys wrote in the legal notice.

The legal notice indicated that the University of Georgia Athletic Association, its employees, and LeCroy’s estate would be sued separately by the Board of Regents.

The Georgia Athletic Association had leased the Ford Expedition that LeCroy drove for recruiting. In an interview with ESPN on March 3, Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart said it wasn’t LeCroy’s job to bring the players home that night. When asked if LeCroy was supposed to be driving the SUV at the time of the accident, Smart replied, “Absolutely not. Absolutely not.”

Lawyers for Dave Willock allege that LeCroy was “directed to retain the vehicle throughout the weekend and be on call this weekend to serve coaches, recruits and players as needed during this weekend’s championship celebrations.”

“For supervisors to provide keys etc. to recruit assistants to entertain players and recruits throughout the championship weekend is clear, but for the UGA to deny these facts in the post-event media is bad form at best,” they wrote Dave Willock’s attorneys in the Legal Department made a note. “Public comments from the UGA Director of Sport [Josh Brooks]Supervisors and administrators who downplay their role in this incident and blame LeCroy are unleading and less than expected.

In a statement Tuesday, UGA spokesman Greg Trevor denied attorneys’ allegations that the UGA athletics division supplied alcohol to LeCroy at championship celebrations.

“As we continue to mourn the loss of the Willock family, an attorney’s collection letter for Devin’s father is riddled with inaccuracies,” Trevor wrote in the statement. “[Willock’s attorney] has not provided the university with any sources or evidence to support these reckless claims. As we have made clear, private use of vehicles rented for recruitment activities was strictly prohibited. Ms. LeCroy was not engaged in athletic department duties at the time of the accident and her personal use of the car after the end of her early evening recruiting duties was therefore unauthorized.

Carter, a potential first-round pick in this week’s NFL draft, pleaded no charges for reckless driving and racing on March 16. Carter was sentenced to 12 months probation, a $1,000 fine and 80 hours of community service, and will take a state-approved defensive driving course. The resolution of the matter permanently bars the state from pursuing further charges against Carter, according to his attorney Kim Stephens.