Raiders Receiver Henry Ruggs III Involved In Fatal Crash | Charged With DUI | Could Face 20 Years In Prison
Former Alabama Crimson Tide and Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Henry Ruggs III is facing serious charges after apparently causing a fatal car crash in Vegas while he was driving at speeds police say reached 156 mph on a city street.
The accident, which happened at about 3:40 a.m. Tuesday morning, killed the female driver of the other vehicle and injured Ruggs and his girlfriend, who was a passenger in his vehicle. Witnesses say Ruggs’ 2020 Corvette veered into a right lane and struck the back of a Toyota RAV4 driven by a woman identified as 23-year-old Tina Tintor. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that police say the crash pushed the compact SUV more than 570 feet before it stopped and burst into flames.
The newspaper describes what police say happened next:
At least three bystanders stopped to help.
Among them was Alexander Hart, a security guard for a nearby condominium community, according to the report. After hearing the crash, he got into his security vehicle and drove to the scene.
When he arrived, the report states, he heard screams coming from the Toyota. The driver was still alive, he told police.
But he couldn’t pull her out, he said, because she was pinned inside the SUV.
There was also a loaded gun found in his car by the police. Ruggs, who police say refused a sobriety test at the scene, was transported to a local hospital, where he was treated for non-life threatening injuries.
— Mick Akers (@mickakers) November 2, 2021
A wheelchair-bound Ruggs appeared in court Wednesday wearing a neck brace, where his bond was sent at $150,000 charges of DUI resulting in death and reckless driving. Nevada law states a conviction on these charges brings a sentence of two to 22 years in prison.
The Raiders organization had this to say about the grim situation Tuesday before the charges were announced and the team released Ruggs:
“The Raiders are aware of an accident involving Henry Ruggs III that occurred this morning in Vegas. We are devastated to by the loss of life and our thoughts and prayers go out to the victim’s family. We are in the process of gathering information and will have no further comment at this time.”
Breaking: The Las Vegas Raiders have released WR Henry Ruggs III, the team announced. pic.twitter.com/nhLJrdTNMC
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) November 3, 2021
The NFL followed with this statement:
“Our hearts go out to family and friends of the victim of this horrible tragedy. We will continue to gather facts and monitor the matter under our policies, but our thoughts at this time are with those impacted by this devastating incident.”
Backstory On Ruggs
The 22-year-old Ruggs grew up in Montgomery, Alabama. A track and basketball star first, at Robert E. Lee High School, his speed and elite athleticism caught the eye of the head football coach.
But Ruggs didn’t suit up for football until his junior year. Because of his elite speed, Ruggs received his first scholarship offer after just his second game. Alabama and Nick Saban got word of what Ruggs was doing and immediately began recruiting the multi-sport star.
Ruggs tore the gridiron up with 20 touchdowns during his senior season of high school. Saban and his staff were enamored with the various ways that Ruggs scored (receiving, rushes, returns and passes). Ruggs loved football but was always quick to reiterate that track and basketball were his first loves. His 10.58-second 100-meter dash time broke the Alabama Athletic Associations Class 7A record. Ruggs committed to Alabama after receiving over 20 scholarships offers.
Henry Ruggs III joined track as a Senior in high school, and ran a 10.42s 100 meter in his second meet.
“Official” PR (with wind reading) was 10.53s.
Class 7A Alabama 100 meter state champion and record holder. He’s got the jets. https://t.co/IcAQAp4A54
— Brad Kelly (@CoachBKelly) October 14, 2018
Ruggs Part Of The Historic Alabama Recruiting Class
Ruggs arrived in Tuscaloosa as part of Nick Saban’s historic 2017 No. 1-ranked recruiting class, joining quarterback Tua Tagovailoa, running back Najee Harris, wide receiver Jerry Jeudy and Heisman Trophy winning wideout DeVonta Smith.
Sooo, Nick Saban’s 2017 recruiting class alone included:
🐘 Heisman winner & runner up
🐘 Best RB
🐘 Best OT
🐘 Best WR x 2
🐘 Best QB
🐘 Best CFB player x 2
Yeah, that’s pretty damn good. #RollTide
— Simone Eli (@SimoneEli_TV) January 8, 2021
As a true freshman, Ruggs showed flashes of a unique game-breaking ability. He secured just 12 receptions on the season, but six went for touchdowns, including one in the comeback national title game win over SEC rival Georgia.
Henry Ruggs scored a TD on 25% of his career catches at Alabama
24 TDs pic.twitter.com/zcXO5Un1qL
— PFF Fantasy Football (@PFF_Fantasy) April 13, 2020
He helped Alabama get back to the national title the following year as a sophomore. With nothign left to prove, he entered the NFL draft following his junior campaign, finishing his Alabama career fourth all-time in touchdown receptions, behind NFL stars DeVonta Smith, Amari Cooper and Jerry Jeudy.
First-Ever Las Vegas Raiders Player & First Receiver Taken In 2020 NFL Draft
The Raiders have long had this weird admiration and borderline obsession for speed, and they’ve actually drafted plenty of receivers who can run but weren’t skilled at the position. During the 2020 NFL draft they once again surprised the league when they took Ruggs with the 12th overall pick.
The first-ever Las Vegas Raiders draft pick.
— Las Vegas Raiders (@Raiders) April 24, 2020
It was surprising because leading up to the draft all we heard about were his teammates Jeudy and Oklahoma wideout CeeDee Lamb. The Raiders are in the AFC West, and the Chiefs possess a player Ruggs has been likened to in Tyreek Hill. Ruggs showed flashes of brilliance as a rookie, but overall his first year was considered a disappointment.
This season, he placed among the top 35 receivers in yardage through 8 games (469), while averaging a hefty 19.5 yards per catch. Ruggs is currently 15th in the NFL in receptions for 20 yards+ with 9. He won’t get a chance to build on those numbers in the near future.
Ruggs And Tyreek Hill Eerily Similar
Ruggs has long been compared to Chiefs superstar wideout Hill for his speed and big play ability. He’s also got some of that DeSean Jackson and Ted Ginn Jr. bravado to him. Hill’s a dynamic force that doesn’t come without a checkered past. From his domestic violence arrest in college to his child abuse and losing custody of his son since he’s been in the league, his talent has done wonders to keep him around. Now, Ruggs didn’t possess that kind of baggage until now, although he always seem to have the hothead mentality.
He’s known to turn up on and off the gridiron, but no one could’ve ever imagined it would be to this degree.
Ruggs isn’t the first football player to kill someone under the influence of alcohol.
Donte Stallworth Did The Crime, Time & Returned To NFL
Sadly, the NFL has faced this Henry Ruggs issue before.
In 2009 Donte Stallworth pleaded guilty to DUI manslaughter. He could have been sent to prison for 15 years but only received 30 days. He was suspended by the NFL for the following year but ultimately played 3 more seasons. pic.twitter.com/8FMawHzknT
— Dan Lust, Esq. 🎙 (@SportsLawLust) November 2, 2021
In 2009, former NFL receiver Donte Stallworth struck and killed a 59-year-old man in a crosswalk while driving impaired. Stallworth plead guilty to DUI manslaughter. He ended up doing just 30 days in jail, and upon release he did two years house arrest and eight years probation.
Stallworth used that horrible lapse in judgment to better himself. The NFL even had him coming to speak at its rookie symposium about the dangers and consequences that stem from that one bad decision that can easily be avoided.
The worse part of this tragedy is a loss of life, which could’ve been avoided if Ruggs, a multi-millionaire, just called an Uber, had a designated driver or simply accessed the driving service the NFL has in place to prevent these catastrophic situations.
The Raiders have had a lot of bad news happen the last few weeks but this one is much more serious than anything concerning Jon Gruden and his emails.