In 2020, Henry Ruggs III was looking ahead to a dazzling career in the NFL. Drafted by the Las Vegas Raider, Ruggs had a multimillion-dollar contract in hand. But it all disappeared one night in 2021 when Ruggs got behind the wheel while drunk and killed a woman and her dog.
Ruggs now faces consequences for his actions.
A Bad Decision Leads to a Loss of Life
Henry Ruggs III was selected as the 12th overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft by the Las Vegas Raiders. With a contract worth $16.67 million and a successful first year as a wide receiver, Ruggs was looking toward a bright future. Then, everything changed when Ruggs got behind the wheel of his Chevrolet Corvette on November 2, 2021.
Ruggs had spent several hours drinking with friends at a sports entertainment site and golfing venue before he and his girlfriend attempted to drive home.
According to airbag computer records in Ruggs’ vehicle, his car reached a speed of 156 mph before slowing to 127 mph and crashing into a Toyota Rav 4.
The impact caused the Rav 4 to burst into flames, killing the woman, Tina Tintor, and her dog inside. Ruggs and his girlfriend, Je’nai Kilgo-Washington, were also injured with non-life-threatening injuries and taken to a nearby hospital.
At the hospital, Ruggs’ blood alcohol level was taken. It was .161, more than double the legal limit.
Ruggs Faced More Than 40 Years in Prison
Ruggs was charged with a total of five crimes.
He faced two felonies related to the death of Tintor: DUI resulting in death and reckless driving resulting in death. He also faced two charges related to the injuries sustained by his girlfriend who was in the car with him. The charges were also felonies: DUI resulting in substantial bodily harm and reckless driving resulting in substantial bodily harm.
Ruggs also faced a misdemeanor charge. He had a loaded firearm in the vehicle which led him to be charged with unlawful gun possession.
Under Nevada law, the potential consequences for the charges left Ruggs facing more than 40 years in prison. Now almost two years after the accident, Ruggs is about to start his jail time, which is much less than 40 years.
A Plea Deal Cuts Ruggs’ Jail Time
Ruggs and the prosecutors came to a plea deal that prevented the case from going to trial. Reportedly, both sides had something to gain from the deal.
Prosecutors were worried that they may not be able to use Ruggs’ blood drawings that showed his intoxication levels at trial. Defense attorneys argued that Ruggs’ blood-alcohol test was improperly obtained at the hospital, which meant courts could have suppressed the results of the blood test. Since no field sobriety test was conducted, there would be no additional evidence that Ruggs was intoxicated at the time of the crash.
The defense team sought a plea deal because it could guarantee a lighter sentence for Ruggs. Rather than face up to forty years in prison, Ruggs will now face three to ten years.
Ruggs pleaded guilty to a felony charge of driving under the influence of alcohol causing death and to a misdemeanor charge for vehicular manslaughter, according to the Associated Press.
Other charges in the case were dropped as part of the plea deal, including the charges related to the injuries sustained by his girlfriend and to the misdemeanor gun charge.
How Much Time Will Ruggs Actually Serve?
Ruggs was sentenced to a minimum of three years in prison.
After the accident, Ruggs posted a $150,000 bail for his release and has been on house arrest pending the results of the case. He spent a year and a half on house arrest and cannot convert the time spent on house arrest to time served, per the Associated Press.
After three years, Ruggs will be eligible for parole.
Talk to an Experienced DUI Attorney
Driving under the influence is a serious crime, and the repercussions of a DUI accident can change lives forever. If you have been charged with a DUI, whether it involves someone being injured or not, talk to a DUI attorney right away.
Get an expert attorney by your side who can guide you through the lengthy legal process and protect your rights. If you have been charged with a DUI, request your free consultation with TJ Grimaldi today. Request your consultation or call 813-226-1023 today.