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Prosecutors say Henry Ruggs III was going 156 mph right before fatal crash

Las Vegas police investigate a crash involving former Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Henry Ruggs III on Tuesday. (Eric Jamison/AP)
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Prosecutors in Nevada said Wednesday that former Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Henry Ruggs III reached a speed of 156 mph and had a blood alcohol level more than twice the legal limit before the early-morning crash Tuesday that killed a 23-year-old woman and her dog.

Eric Bauman, chief deputy district attorney for Clark County, Nev., said Ruggs’s Chevrolet Corvette was traveling at 156 mph about two seconds before he crashed into the back of a Toyota Rav4 driven by Tina Tintor on Rainbow Boulevard near Spring Valley Parkway in Las Vegas. When Ruggs’s air bags deployed, his car was traveling at 127 mph, Bauman said.

Raiders release Henry Ruggs III, who faces DUI charge related to fatal crash

“I cannot recall a speed that high in my career on the bench,” said Joe Bonaventure, the justice of the peace who oversaw Ruggs’s initial court appearance Wednesday.

Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson also told reporters Wednesday that he had never seen someone accused of such excessive speeding:

Although prosecutors had requested bond to be set at $1 million, Bonaventure ordered Ruggs’s bond set at $150,000, and he was released Wednesday evening after posting it, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal and 8 News Now in Las Vegas. The Nevada Supreme Court ruled last year that impaired drivers who cause a death no longer can be prosecuted for second-degree murder, but Ruggs could be charged with felony DUI death, which carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

According to police, Tintor was trapped in the driver’s seat of her car and died in the fiery crash, along with a dog. Police also found a loaded gun in the passenger-side floorboard of Ruggs’s car.

Tintor and Ruggs lived just a few miles apart, and Tintor was heading to the home where her family had long lived as the crash occurred. Ruggs and his girlfriend, identified by police as 22-year-old Kiara Je’nai Kilgo-Washington, had been drinking at Topgolf Las Vegas, according to their social media accounts, and Ruggs’s girlfriend told authorities that they had then gone to a friend’s home, according to the Review-Journal.

Several bystanders who raced to the scene upon hearing the crash described frantic moments as they tried to help Tintor. Alexander Hart, a security guard at a nearby condominium complex, told authorities that he heard screams coming from inside Tintor’s Rav4, according to the Review-Journal. He and others said that Tintor was pinned inside the vehicle and could not be extracted before smoke and flames forced them back.

A resident of the area was awakened by a “loud boom” and called 911, he told the Review-Journal. Michael Leone saw the car fire and heard loud music coming from the Corvette and the voice of a woman screaming for help.

Ruggs was not wearing a seat belt, police said, and was hanging from the driver’s side of the Corvette, with his feet on the floorboard and his “body laying on the road,” according to police. Both he and his girlfriend were injured in the crash, according to 8 News Now, and were taken to University Medical Center.

Upon his release from the hospital, Ruggs was wearing a neck brace and was using a wheelchair in his court appearance.

The Raiders released Ruggs, the No. 12 pick of the 2020 NFL draft, late Tuesday.

Alluding Wednesday to last month’s resignation of former coach Jon Gruden, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr said his “emotions have been on a roller coaster, so to speak, this year.” He added that Gruden’s departure and the crash involving Ruggs were “two totally different situations” but that “the message has to stay the same” in regard to trying to maintain some focus on the season. The 5-2 Raiders are set to travel this week for a game Sunday at the New York Giants.

“My heart first goes to the families that are involved,” Carr said. “There are things that happen in life for all of us that we don’t have control over, and you wish you did. I have a thousand questions I wish I could ask, but I don’t get those opportunities. I don’t understand everything and why certain things happen. I forever have relied on the foundation of who I am is my faith, and I’m going to stand on that when it’s hard, and I’m going to stand on that when it’s easy.”

Carr added that he wished he “could have done something. No one ever wants to see this, whether it’s a football player or not. You never want to see something like this happen.”

Citing his faith, Carr said he would stand by Ruggs. “He needs people to love him right now. He’s probably feeling a certain type of way about himself right now, and he needs to be loved,” Carr said. “If nobody else will do it, I’ll do it.”

Interim Raiders coach Rich Bisaccia, who took over for Gruden, began his news conference Wednesday by reading a prepared statement regarding the crash.

“First of all, we want to express our sincere condolences to the victim’s family,” Bisaccia said. “A person lost their life yesterday morning, and we think it’s important to keep focus on that as we talk about this tragic event. We’re deeply saddened for everyone affected, especially the victim’s family.

“That being said, we love Henry Ruggs,” Bisaccia continued. “We want him to know that. It’s a terrible lapse in judgment, of the most horrific kind. It’s something he’ll have to live with the rest of his life. The gravity of the situation is not lost on anyone here, and we understand and respect the loss of life.”

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