Ex-Las Vegas Raider Henry Ruggs III pleaded guilty Wednesday to driving his sports car drunk at speeds over 150 miles per hour before causing a fiery crash that killed a woman and her dog.
Ruggs took legal responsibility for the deadly automobile accident that occurred at 3:40 a.m. Tuesday, March 3, 2016, as he traveled north on Interstate 65.
Tina Tintor, 23, and her pet dog were killed in the crash. Following the accident, Ruggs registered a blood alcohol content twice Nevada’s legal limit.
On May 10, the Raiders’ 2020 first-round NFL draft pick will avoid trial and is expected to be sentenced Aug. 9 to three to 10 years in state prison under terms of his plea deal with prosecutors. The minimum three-year sentence cannot be reduced by converting the year-and-a-half that he has already spent on house arrest applied as time already served.
That means the once-promising wide receiver will go to prison and won’t be able to appeal his conviction or sentence. It’s a strict punishment, designed to hit first-time offenders harder than most traffic felonies. However, due to the events leading up to the incident, Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson pushed for the maximum repercussions.
“When someone dies as the result of a drunk driver’s actions, this is the most serious charge the law allows,” Wolfson said.
“I recognize this outcome is not sufficient to punish Ruggs for the loss the Tintor family has suffered,” the District Attorney’s statement said, “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. This resolution sends Ruggs to prison for up to 10 years on a felony DUI conviction and brings closure to the Tintor family.”
The Tintor family said through their attorneys, “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. We appreciate the efforts of the district attorney’s office to overcome the issues caused by the initial investigation, and we look forward to putting this behind us so that we can focus on honoring the memories of Tina and Max.”
A native of Montogomery, Alabama, Ruggs would stay in the state when choosing where to play college football. As a star wideout for the Crimson Tide, he notched 746 yards receiving and seven touchdowns as a junior before turning pro. Ruggs ran a 4.27-second 40-yard dash at the 2020 NFL Combine – the year’s fastest time by any prospect. That led Las Vegas to select him with the 12th overall pick.
In two seasons with the Raiders, Riggs appeared in 20 games. He caught 50 passes for 921 yards and four touchdowns in an NFL career that appears to (essentially) be over now.