NFL Raiders wide receiver Henry Ruggs III early Tuesday morning was driving drunk – at twice the legal limit – in a residential neighborhood at 156 miles per hour when he slammed into another vehicle, killing a 23 year-old woman and her dog, according to Las Vegas Metropolitan Police.
Ruggs, 22, who was released by the Raiders Tuesday evening after news of the incident broke, was allegedly speeding in his Corvette down Rainbow Boulevard, a 3-lane roadway located about five miles west of the Las Vegas Strip, at 3:39 a.m. after a night out partying.
He veered behind a Toyota RAV4 driven by Tina Tintor, 23, and slammed into the vehicle so hard that it was propelled over 570 feet, cops say. Officials say Riggs was traveling at 156 mph two seconds before the crash – 111 mph over the posted speed limit – but his Corvette had slowed to 127 mph when its airbags deployed.
After Tintor’s vehicle finally came to a stop it burst into flames, witnesses say; the victim was reportedly still alive at this time, but perished in the blaze – along with her dog, Maxi – despite efforts of bystanders to extract her from the wreckage.
“She was actually still alive. You could hear her breathing. She had her seat belt on and I was trying to cut that away,” said Good Samaritan Tony Rodriguez, who attempted to help Tintor and her dog. “Trying to grab them by their shoulders and pull them out but that wasn’t working. They were pinned. The seat belt was on, the airbags were in the way, and the door was jammed.”
According to reports, Tintor was a Serbian immigrant who was about to get her U.S. citizenship and planned to study computer programming.
Ruggs and his girlfriend, Kiara Je’nai Kilgo-Washington, were taken to a local hospital for treatment, where Ruggs was reportedly combative and uncooperative with police, refusing to take a blood alcohol test or answer questions; according to officials, he repeatedly kept pulling out his IV tubes and screaming “Get me the f**k out of here.”
However, Kilgo-Washington – who has a young daughter with Ruggs – allegedly told police that the couple had been at the MGM Grand’s TopGolf driving range and had been drinking; video confirms that the two were indeed at TopGolf that evening.
After a warrant signed by a judge was obtained, Ruggs was revealed to have a blood alcohol level of .161, or twice Nevada’s .08 legal limit, authorities say, who also confirmed that the former Raiders 2020 first-round draft pick had a loaded firearm in the vehicle at the time of the crash.
Tuesday afternoon he was booked in Clark County Jail; he appeared in court Wednesday in a wheelchair, with bruises to his face and a neck brace; reacting to Ruggs’ 156 mph speed prior to the crash, Judge Joe Bonaventure remarked “I cannot recall a speed that high in my career on the bench.”
Ruggs is currently free on $150,000 bail; he is required to wear an ankle device, abstain from alcohol, and surrender his passport. He is currently charged with driving under the influence of alcohol resulting in death and reckless driving, both felonies; prosecutors have stated that they are looking into weapons charges as well.
In addition to his NFL career most likely being over, if convicted of all counts Ruggs could face over 20 years in prison.