On May 10, former NFL player Henry Ruggs pleaded guilty in court to drunk driving. Ruggs was driving his sports car on a city street while under the influence. While driving at the speed of 156 mph in his 2020 Chevrolet Corvette, the ex-Las Vegas Raiders player then hit and killed a woman and her dog in a fiery crash.
AN EX-NFL PLAYER WAS THE AT-FAULT DRIVER
Henry Ruggs was a former first-round draft pick in the NFL and 24-years-old at the time of his court appearance. Ruggs will avoid trial and is expected to be sentenced on August 9 to state prison for three to ten years. He has already spent one and a half years on house arrest.
Ruggs will not be able to appeal his conviction and sentence. He was convicted of felony DUI causing death. The elected district attorney for the case explained that “When someone dies as the result of a drunk driver’s actions, this is the most serious charge the law allows.”
THE VICTIMS OF THE FATAL DUI ACCIDENT
On November 2, 2021, Ruggs was hospitalized after killing 23-year-old Tina Tintor and her dog Max in a wrongful death accident. The Raiders dropped Ruggs as a result of his actions.
Tintor’s family and attorneys were present in the courtroom on May 10. The family used a statement saying “Today, like every day, we remember Tina and Max, and how they were taken from us that fateful night… No sentence will ever bring Tina and Max back, but we hope that everyone learns from this preventable incident so that no other families suffer like we do.”
Tina Tintor was a graduate of Las Vegas high school and a Serbian immigrant. Tina’s family revealed that she wanted to work as a computer programmer and she was very close to obtaining her U.S. citizenship.
WHY RUGGS DECIDED TO PLEAD GUILTY
During the accident, Ruggs was with his girlfriend Je’nai Kilgo-Washington. Prosecutors disclosed that both Ruggs and Washington were injured after the crash. Washington suffered an arm injury and Ruggs received a leg injury. Washington was not cooperative with prosecutors as a victim in the fatal DUI accident case. Ruggs and Washington have a daughter together.
The district attorney said that Ruggs was with friends at a sports entertainment site and golfing venue before the DUI incident occurred. Ruggs was drinking with them for several hours before driving home with his girlfriend.
According to KTLA, Ruggs’ lawyers attempted to challenge the evidence that Ruggs had a blood-alcohol level of 0.16% before crashing in a rear-end wreck that started the fire that killed Tintor and her dog. 0.16% is double the legal limit in Nevada. The attempts to challenge this evidence were unsuccessful.
Ruggs was not given a field sobriety test after the crash and a blood-alcohol test was instead taken at a hospital.
The district attorney commented on Ruggs’ sentence and why it was not more severe. He said, “I recognize this outcome is not sufficient to punish Ruggs for the loss the Tintor family has suffered… But there was a legitimate concern that a court would have suppressed the result of the blood draw. We would have lost the felony DUI charge. We couldn’t take that chance.”
According to air bag computer records, the Corvette slowed down slightly from 156 mph to 127 mph seconds before colliding with Tintor’s Toyota Rav4. The area’s speed limit was 45 mph.
Under the plea agreement, other charges brought against Ruggs were dismissed. These charges included felony reckless driving, driving under the influence causing substantial injury to Kilgo-Washington, and a misdemeanor gun charge. The gun charge was produced when police found a loaded handgun in the crashed Corvette.
RUGGS BEFORE PLEADING GUILTY
After leaving the hospital, Ruggs paid a bail of $150,000 to be released from jail. He has spent time on house arrest with alcohol checks and electronic monitoring.
Henry James Ruggs III won a national championship with Alabama before he was drafted in 2020 by the raiders. He signed a four-year deal of $16 million. He was an emerging star in the NFL before he caused the fatal DUI accident.
Accidents like these should never happen and it is a true tragedy when one does occur. Our hearts go out to Tina Tintor and her pet dog Max.
If you have any questions regarding a DUI crash you should contact a DUI accident attorney immediately.