Henry Ruggs III, a former Las Vegas Raiders receiver, was sentenced Wednesday 9 August, to three to ten years in prison for a drunken driving crash in November 2021 that killed a Las Vegas lady and her dog. Ruggs could be able to get release after three years in prison.
On Wednesday 9 August, Clark County District Court Judge Jennifer Schwartz told Ruggs that it was one of the more heartbreaking situations she had seen.
Ruggs, 24, had been placed under house arrest with electronic monitoring for alcohol and location since pleading guilty in May to one count of DUI resulting in death and one count of misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter in the incident that killed Tina Tintor and her dog, Max. Ruggs read from a statement intended for Tintor’s family on Wednesday, in which he apologized for his acts.
“To the parents and family of Ms. Tintor, I sincerely apologize for the pain and suffering,” Ruggs stated. Ruggs, dressed in a dark blue suit and standing between his lawyers, addressed Schwartz, saying he had let his “family, teammates, and those that believed in me down with my actions.”
He stated that he has spent the past 21 months looking for solutions to explain his actions, but he makes no excuses and wishes to begin the healing process for himself and anyone involved. Ruggs intends to raise awareness about the dangers of driving while inebriated and at high speeds.
Ruggs said, “My actions are not a true reflection of me.” Ruggs had been sentenced to three to ten years in a Nevada state prison since May. Ruggs was released by the Raiders the day after the tragedy.
The crash was discussed publicly for the first time by anyone in Tintor’s immediate family on Wednesday. Tintor arrived in the United States as a child, the anchor of a family fleeing war-torn Serbia. She assisted her father in overcoming language problems, babysat her nephew, and was scheduled to pick up her father from work the day she died.
Ruggs’ family has been a regular in his hearings for the past two years. Tintor’s cousin, Daniel Strbac, gave a statement on behalf of Tintor’s mother, Mirjana Komazec, after Ruggs and defense counsel David Chesnoff.
“We pray that this terrible accident inspires positive change in the world,” said part of the message. “From the bottom of our hearts, we absolutely love and appreciate all members of our church, Raider Nation, the city of Las Vegas community, and every individual who has shown up to remind us that we are not alone, and Tina and Max are not alone.”
Chief Deputy District Attorney Eric Bauman is responsible for thousands of cases, but the Ruggs case has been prominently displayed on his desk for nearly two years. He claimed to have visited Tintor’s memorial and left tennis balls for Max.
“It was a horrific case,” Bauman remarked. “What struck me the most about it was that the crash did not kill her.” She could have avoided the impact and led a fully regular life. But she was burned to death, as was her dog, and she suffered. It bothers me. I drive through the memorial all the time and always stop, and the memory of it never leaves me.”
Tintor, 23, and Max perished from head injuries, according to a coroner in December 2021. The Clark County District Attorney’s office issued a statement in May, around the time of the plea deal, noting that problems with the search warrant obtained by police for Ruggs’ blood draw in the hospital may have resulted in the DUI death charge being dismissed if there had been no plea deal.
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Earlier this year, the Clark County District Attorney’s office, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police, and Mothers Against Drunk Driving advocated in support of proposals that would enhance the penalty for comparable incidents to Ruggs’. The state legislature rejected both bills.
MADD’s director of mission operations, Lindsey Valdez, was in the courtroom on Wednesday to support Tintor’s family.
“Today is a very heavy day,” remarked Valdez. “I think it marks a point in the case where there is some resolve on the criminal side of the case. But unfortunately, that doesn’t really mean an end for the family or their healing process.”
Ruggs’ attorneys had asked the judge in court records filed prior to the sentencing hearing to limit their client’s prison time to three to ten years. Ruggs, according to Chesnoff and Richard Schonfeld, “wishes that he could turn back time and change the outcome of the tragic events of November 2, 2021.”
Ruggs’ counsel filed a doctor’s examination of his life and health, background information, and a collection of testimonial letters in his support. Several of the letters were from instructors and employees at Dr. Percy L. Julian High School (formerly Robert E. Lee High School) in Montgomery, Alabama, where Ruggs rose to fame. Mike Locksley, Ruggs’ college coach at Alabama, also submitted a letter on his behalf. He is now the head coach at the University of Maryland.
According to authorities, Ruggs was driving drunk on Nov. 2, 2021, and reached speeds of 156 mph just seconds before colliding with Tintor’s Toyota RAV4, which was moving just over 43 mph. Tintor’s RAV4 traveled 571 feet. Ruggs’ blood alcohol level was 0.161, more than twice the legal limit in Nevada, according to blood draw two hours after the incident.
Ruggs was playing Topgolf near the Strip with three other individuals, including his girlfriend, Kiara Je’nai Kilgo-Washington, in the hours before the incident, according to authorities. Police noted an itemized copy of a Topgolf receipt, which indicated a tab for meals, drinks, and gameplay under Kilgo-Washington’s name.
According to authorities, the group was charged for 20 drinks, the majority of which contained tequila. Ruggs and Kilgo-Washington were also at a friend’s residence for about three hours before the crash, according to police. Ruggs was playing pool and learning to play poker at a friend’s house, according to authorities.
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LIVE COVERAGE — Ex-Raider Henry Ruggs is being sentenced for a deadly crash in 2021. #8NN
— 8 News Now (@8NewsNow) August 9, 2023
Ruggs has not commented publicly about the case other than a few remarks in court. However, authorities obtained a transcript of a phone call from prison the day after the incident in which Ruggs admitted to being drunk to an unidentified guy. He also stated during the five-minute call that the last thing he recalled before the crash was learning to play poker. “I don’t even remember leaving,” he continued, according to the police transcript.
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Ruggs was allowed to leave home confinement twice a week last year due to a court judgment. Around the same time, the court allowed him to travel to California for an undefined medical treatment. Ruggs was treated for in-patient trauma at Mental Health Collective in Newport Beach, California, according to documents submitted by Ruggs’ lawyers on August 1. According to clinical director Kristen Zaleski, Ruggs got 24-hour residential treatment for PTSD.
Kilgo-Washington was in the automobile with Ruggs and was also hurt. According to a police report, she had a broken arm. Ruggs was the Raiders’ first draft pick after they relocated to Las Vegas. He was selected 12th overall in 2020 and appeared in 20 games for the team. Must follow us on leedaily.com for more latest and top-breaking headlines.