Former Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Henry Ruggs III pleaded guilty Wednesday to two charges stemming from a fiery DUI-related death of a Las Vegas woman and her dog in 2021
Ruggs, 24, will avoid a trial and is expected to be sentenced to three to 10 years in prison under the terms of his plea arrangement with prosecutors. He pleaded guilty in Clark County District Court to one count DUI resulting in death and one count of misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter.
The minimum three-year sentence cannot be reduced using the year-and-a-half that Ruggs has spent on house arrest.
Ruggs faced up to 50 years in prison -- minimum of two -- had he been convicted at trial.
Ruggs stood accused of causing the death of Tina Tintor and her dog after colliding with her vehicle and propelling it 571 feet, setting it on fire. Tintor and her dog burned to death. A blood draw two hours after the early morning crash on Nov. 2, 2021, revealed Ruggs had a blood-alcohol level of .0.161 -- more than twice the legal limit in Nevada.
Police said Ruggs was driving his 2020 Chevrolet Corvette up to 156 mph on a residential street seconds before colliding with Tintor's Toyota Rav 4. The speed limit in the area was 45 mph.
District Attorney Steven B. Wolfson said in a statement that the charge of driving under the influence resulting in death was "the most serious charge the law allows" when someone dies as the result of a drunken driver's actions. That charge, the statement said, was depending on the result of a blood draw, which occurred at the hospital.
Ruggs was not administered a field sobriety test after the crash, and his defense attorneys argued that his blood-alcohol test was improperly obtained at the hospital.
"There was virtually no other evidence to prove Ruggs was under the influence," Wolfson said of the blood test.
"I recognize this outcome is not sufficient to punish Ruggs for the loss the Tintor family has suffered," the district attorney 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."
Tintor's family members were in the courtroom Wednesday.
"Today, like every day, we remember Tina and Max, and how they were taken from us that fateful night," the Tintor family said in a statement issued by their attorneys at Naqvi Injury Law. "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."
Ruggs and his attorneys declined immediate comment and later released a statement.
"Henry entered his plea today in hopes that it will further the process of healing the wounds caused by the accident," his attorneys, David Chesnoff and Richard Schonfeld, said in written comments.
They said they would make an additional statement after sentencing.
Other charges against Ruggs were dismissed under the plea agreement, including felony reckless driving, driving under the influence causing substantial injury to a passenger in his car -- his girlfriend Je'nai Kilgo-Washington -- and a misdemeanor gun charge stemming from the discovery by police of a loaded handgun in his car. Ruggs agreed to forfeit the gun.
The Raiders released Ruggs one day after the crash. He had 50 catches for 921 yards and four touchdowns in 20 games (19 starts) after being selected No. 12 overall in the 2020 draft out of Alabama
--Field Level Media