Georgia fired football recruiting staffer Victoria Bowles, who is suing the university’s athletic association after surviving the January crash that killed player Devin Willock and another recruiting staff member. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution first reported the news. Here’s what you need to know:
- The school said in a statement Tuesday that it had to terminate Bowles’ employment because she refused to cooperate with an internal investigation into the crash. “Over the course of several months, Ms. Bowles was asked — on numerous occasions — to speak with our investigators and provide information, and through her attorney, she repeatedly refused to cooperate,” the school said.
- Bowles was a backseat passenger in the Jan. 15 car crash hours after Georgia celebrated its second straight national championship with an on-campus parade.
- A police investigation following the wreck concluded that “alcohol impairment, racing, reckless driving and speed were significant contributing factors to the crash.”
Bowles’ lawsuit said she has accrued more than $171,500 in medical expenses and sustained 10 fractured ribs, a broken clavicle, kidney and liver lacerations, a punctured and collapsed lung and a closed head injury. Bowles also developed arachnoiditis, which is typically a permanent neurological condition with no cure that often progresses to paralysis, per the lawsuit.
Bowles is also suing Philadelphia Eagles rookie Jalen Carter — accused by police of racing the SUV that crashed — and the estate of deceased team recruiting staffer Chandler LeCroy, who was driving.
The lawsuit accuses Carter, who was selected ninth in April’s NFL Draft, of having “no valid driver’s license at the time of the crash” and illegally leaving the scene.
Carter pleaded no contest on March 16 to two misdemeanor charges of reckless driving and racing. He was sentenced to 12 months of probation, a $1,000 fine and 80 hours of community service. He must also complete a state-approved driving course.
The lawsuit also accuses negligence by the UGA Athletic Association, which issued a statement that said, in part, that “rental vehicles were to be turned in at the immediate conclusion of recruiting duties.” Per the suit, LeCroy told Bowles that LeCroy had “permission” to keep the SUV “until tomorrow” and “recruiting staff were regularly informed they could leave their personal vehicles overnight at the Butts-Mehre football facility and permissively use Association rental vehicles through a specified cut-off date and time, unrelated to their assigned recruiting activity duties.”
The lawsuit also alleges that the UGAAA was negligent in allowing LeCroy to operate the SUV at all. Bowles’ lawyers said athletic officials were aware that “LeCroy had at least four speeding tickets, which included two ‘super speeder’ violations under Georgia law.”
Another then-Georgia player, Warren McClendon, sustained minor injuries in the crash. He was selected by the Los Angeles Rams in the fifth round of this year’s draft.
(Photo: Mark J. Rebilas / USA Today)