Former Raiders wide receiver Henry Ruggs III was sentenced to at least three years in prison on Wednesday for his part in a collision that killed a woman in Las Vegas in 2021.
Ruggs, 23, crashed his sports car into Tina Tintor’s SUV on November 2, 2021, and in May he pled guilty to a felony intoxicated driving charge related to the incident. In accordance with the terms of Ruggs’ plea deal, Judge Jennifer Schwartz handed down a sentence of up to 10 years in prison on Wednesday, with parole eligibility after three years.
At 3:40 a.m. on April 1, investigators say that Ruggs, then 23 years old and a first-round choice in the 2020 N.F.L. draughts, was driving his Corvette at speeds of up the 156 miles per hour when he collided with Tintor’s S.U.V., causing it to catch fire and ultimately kill both Tintor and her dog, Max.
Kiara Kilgo-Washington, Ruggs’s girlfriend, was hurt as well, and his blood-alcohol level was estimated to be 0.16, which is twice the legal limit in Nevada. A few hours after the accident, the Raiders cut Ruggs from the team.
Ruggs entered into a plea deal in May in the Eighth Judicial District Court of Nevada, pleading guilty to vehicular manslaughter and driving under the influence with death. Two counts of reckless driving and one count of DUI with bodily injury were reduced to misdemeanour charges, and the original allegation of having a firearm while intoxicated was reduced to a misdemeanour.
Ruggs wore a black suit and tie to court, and he was accompanied by solicitors David Chesnoff and Richard Schonfeld. Ruggs, reading from a written statement, said that his behaviour does “not reflect a true reflection of me.”
Ruggs remarked in front of Tintor’s family members, “Over the past 21 months, I’ve searched for a way to find the answers for my selfish behaviour on that day.” I hope that by pleading guilty and taking responsibility, I can start the healing process for myself and everyone else affected.
Schwartz referred to the case as “one of the most tragic” she has encountered before handing down the sentence. And Tintor’s mom, Mirjana Komazec, wrote a statement that was read on their behalf: “Every parent’s worst nightmare is to create a beautiful child just to have them taken away at the hands of another’s negligence.”
Prosecutors and Ruggs’ defence team had been wrangling in court for over two years about whether or not the police properly collected evidence of Ruggs’ alcohol use. The plea agreement ended that dispute.
Authorities interrogated Ruggs after the incident and he denied drinking, but they obtained a warrant to test his blood alcohol content anyhow. The police should not have been granted the warrant, his lawyers said. When the plea deal was offered in May, it was because Clark County District Attorney Steven Wolfson admitted it was unclear whether or not the blood samples could be used at trial.
Associate Dean of the Law School at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Eve Hanan remarked in an interview that there was no physical or verbal evidence to suggest that Ruggs was intoxicated.
No penalty can ever bring Tina and Max back, but we hope that everyone learns from this avoidable catastrophe so that no other families suffer like we have,” the family stated in a statement via their attorney. We recognise the challenges that the first inquiry created and are grateful for the work done by the district attorney’s office to resolve them.
After posting bail of $150,000 after the collision, Ruggs was placed under home arrest with a number of restrictions. Before the accident, he had started all seven games for the Raiders that season, 2021, his second in the league. Ruggs accepted the decision, his lawyers said in a statement released following his sentence, and he plans to “return to making positive contributions to his community” after serving his time.
New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara was banned for three games by the NFL last week for his involvement in a beating outside a Las Vegas nightclub on February 5, 2022, the day before the Pro Bowl. In July, Kamara avoided prison time by pleading no contest to a modified misdemeanour charge of breach of peace. Kamara has been ordered to do 30 hours of community service, pay a $500 fine, and reimburse Darnell Greene for more than $100,000 in medical bills.