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Former Raiders player Henry Ruggs sentenced to at least 3 years for fatal DUI crash

Former Las Vegas Raiders player Henry Ruggs was sentenced to at least three years in prison in Nevada on Wednesday killing a woman in a fiery crash while drunk driving his sports car at speeds of up to 250 mph on a city street almost two years ago.

“My sincere apologies,” said the former NFL first-round draft pick as he faced sentencing in Las Vegas after plead guilty in May to misdemeanor DUI causing death and misdemeanor manslaughter, a charge with a six-month jail term that will be folded with its 3 to 10-year sentence.

Ruggs was harshly addressed by the judge at a hearing in November, but he was allowed to remain under house arrest with a continuous alcohol monitor on one ankle and a GPS monitor on the other.

Former Raiders player Henry Ruggs, center, awaits a court hearing at the Regional Justice Center in Las Vegas on Tuesday, May 2, 2023.
Former Raiders player Henry Ruggs, center, awaits a court hearing at the Regional Justice Center in Las Vegas on Tuesday, May 2, 2023.

KM Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Ruggs, now 24, was slashed by the Raiders while still hospitalized following the predawn crash on November 2, 2021. The impact killed Tina Tintor and her dog, Max, and injured Ruggs’ passenger, Kiara Je’nai Kilgo -Washington, his fiancée and mother of their daughter.

“I have no excuses,” Ruggs said, citing the pain the accident has caused his family, teammates and Tintor’s family. Ruggs said after jail he plans to advise others “about the dangers of unsafe speeding and driving and drinking”.

Police reported that airbag computer data showed Ruggs’ 2020 Chevrolet Corvette slowed slightly from 250 mph to 200 mph seconds before crashing into Tintor’s Toyota Rav 4. The speed limit in the area was 45 km/h.

Tintor’s mother, Mirjana Komazec, offered sadness, grace and memories of “what it was like to hug and hug her, knowing that we will never be able to kiss her on the forehead or tell her how much we love her and how absolutely proud of her.” her we are,” she said in a statement read in court by Tintor’s cousin, David Strbac.

“We pray Henry Ruggs is blessed with the opportunity to see his beautiful daughter grow into the wonderful woman she can be,” Komazec’s statement read. “And we pray that this terrible accident will bring positive change to the world. We pray that we all take away the importance of taking care of each other, and remembering that everyone we meet is another’s loved one.”

Kilgo-Washington and a group of friends and supporters watched as Ruggs, dressed in a dark suit, white shirt and blue tie, was handcuffed by a bailiff as Clark County District Court Judge Jennifer Schwartz read the verdict. Ruggs was then led away.

In pre-sentencing court filings, Ruggs’ attorneys, David Chesnoff and Richard Schonfeld, included letters from administrators and teachers at high schools in Montgomery, Alabama, praising Ruggs, and testimony from Democratic State Representative Phillip Ensler of Alabama.

“Mr. Ruggs is a man of good character who has made a terrible mistake,” the lawyers said in the presentation memorandum. “His repentance is deep and sincere.”

His plea deal avoided a process that Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson said precluded a conviction because Ruggs was not given a field sobriety test after the crash and his lawyers argued that Ruggs’ blood alcohol test was wrongly hospitalized. had been obtained.

Wolfson, a Democrat, said the blood test was “virtually” the only evidence that Ruggs was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash. It revealed that Ruggs had a blood alcohol content of 0.16% — twice the legal limit in Nevada — after the rear wreckage caused a fire at Tintor’s Rav 4.

Kilgo-Washington was also injured in Ruggs’ wrecked Corvette. Prosecutors said Ruggs suffered a leg injury and Kilgo-Washington suffered an arm injury. Kilgo-Washington did not cooperate with prosecutors as a victim in the case.

Wolfson had said that if convicted, Ruggs would face a mandatory prison term of at least two years and could receive more than 50 years. The prosecutor said investigators learned that Ruggs had spent several hours drinking with friends at a sports entertainment ground and golf venue, and may have spent several more hours at a friend’s house before he and Kilgo-Washington headed home.

Tintor was a Serbian immigrant who, according to friends and relatives, graduated from a Las Vegas high school, worked at a Target store, wanted to become a computer programmer, and was about to receive her US citizenship. The family statement called Max her best friend.

“The sentence will not bring Tina back,” Farhan Naqvi, a lawyer representing Tintor’s family, said outside the courtroom. “What we hope most of all is that other deaths can be prevented from drunk driving and reckless driving. It ruins lives. It destroys families.”

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