Former Raiders wide receiver, Henry Ruggs III, has been handed a prison sentence as a result of his involvement in a tragic car accident that claimed a woman’s life in Las Vegas during 2021. The accident led to the demise of Tina Tintor, 23, and left a trail of destruction in its wake. Ruggs had previously pleaded guilty to a felony charge of driving under the influence (DUI) in May, acknowledging his responsibility for crashing his sports car into Tintor’s SUV on November 2, 2021.
On Wednesday, Judge Jennifer Schwartz pronounced the sentence, ordering Ruggs to serve up to ten years in prison, with the possibility of parole after a minimum of three years. This decision aligned with the terms of the plea agreement that had been negotiated. Reports from authorities revealed that at the time of the accident, Ruggs was driving his Corvette at a staggering speed of up to 156 miles per hour at 3:40 AM. The collision with Tintor’s SUV resulted in a fiery crash that led to the tragic loss of Tintor and her dog, Max.
Ruggs’s blood-alcohol level was twice Nevada’s legal limit, registering at 0.16. His girlfriend, Kiara Kilgo-Washington, also suffered injuries. In the wake of the accident, the Raiders promptly removed Ruggs from their roster. Ruggs’s legal proceedings concluded with a plea deal in May.
The agreement encompassed his guilty plea to a count of DUI causing death, categorized as a felony, and a count of vehicular manslaughter, classified as a misdemeanor. This arrangement involved the dismissal of three original felony charges along with a misdemeanor charge related to possessing a firearm while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
The court proceedings revealed Ruggs’s remorse. In a somber statement before the court and the family members of the deceased, Ruggs expressed his deep regret and the journey he had undertaken in seeking answers for his actions. He acknowledged the gravity of his actions and his desire to accept responsibility in the hope that it would aid the healing process for all involved. As the sentence was delivered, Judge Schwartz termed the case as one of the most tragic she had encountered.
Mirjana Komazec, Tintor’s mother, conveyed the family’s anguish and pain through a statement read by their representative, emphasizing the profound impact of negligence on their lives. The plea agreement marked the culmination of nearly two years of legal exchanges between prosecutors and Ruggs’s defense team. Disputes centered around the evidence-gathering process undertaken by the police to establish Ruggs’s level of intoxication.
Although Ruggs had not admitted to drinking when interviewed by the authorities post-crash, a warrant was obtained for a blood-alcohol test during his hospitalization. Legal experts acknowledged that concerns were raised about the admissibility of these blood samples in court. This uncertainty led to the formulation of the plea agreement. Eve Hanan, an associate dean at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas law school, noted that there was insufficient visual or verbal evidence to conclusively prove Ruggs’s intoxication. Hanan underlined that while the incident was undeniably tragic, the question of whether Ruggs was driving recklessly or intoxicated remained unresolved.
The Tintor family expressed their desire to put the case to rest, highlighting that no sentence could ever undo the loss of Tina and Max. The family urged others to learn from this preventable tragedy, preventing other families from enduring similar heartache. Following the crash, Ruggs had been placed under house arrest under strict conditions after posting bail of $150,000. His promising NFL career had been cut short as he started all seven games for the Raiders in 2021 prior to the accident. In response to the sentencing, Ruggs’s legal team conveyed his acceptance of the verdict and his intention to contribute positively to the community upon his eventual release.
Ruggs’s arrest was one among a series of criminal incidents involving NFL players over the past couple of years. Just last week, the NFL suspended Alvin Kamara, a running back for the New Orleans Saints, for three games due to his role in a nightclub altercation.