NFL wide receiver Henry Ruggs was released from the Las Vegas Raiders and charged with multiple felonies after killing a woman and her dog in a drunken joyride early Tuesday, the Associated Press reported.
Authorities said the 22-year-old athlete was going 156 miles per hour in his Corvette when he careened into the victim’s car, which burst into flames.
He had his first court appearance on Wednesday after getting charged with felony DUI resulting in death and felony reckless driving, Fox News reported.
Ruggs appeared in court in a neck brace and wheelchair, after being treated for “serious” injuries. His girlfriend, who was a passenger in his car, was also hurt, reports said.
Prosecutors say that Ruggs had more than twice the legal limit of alcohol in his blood and was traveling 156 mph when he swerved into the right lane and rear-ended a Toyota RAV4. The Toyota exploded, and a 23-year-old woman who was trapped inside, Tina Tintor, was killed.
According to Fox, police found a loaded gun in Ruggs’ car and the driver with “signs of impairment.” The crash occurred on a busy street a few miles from the Las Vegas strip around 3:40 a.m., the AP reported.
The judge balked at the crime, according to Fox, saying, “I cannot recall a speed that high in my career on the bench.” The district attorney in Clark County, Steve Wolfson, called the crime “tragic and sad.”
“A woman lost her life. Another person perhaps lost his career, perhaps [is] going to prison,” Wolfson said, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “This was a very, very ugly day, yesterday morning.”
Dropped by team
According to the AP, Ruggs was picked 12th in the 2020 NFL draft after three years with Alabama Crimson Tide, where he won an NCAA Title in 2017. He was showing promise this season, with 24 receptions, 469 yards, and two touchdowns before his fatal, debauched ride.
The Las Vegas Raiders have released him as he awaits trial in the slaying, but Raider Quarterback Derek Carr appeared to defend Ruggs, who he said “needs to be loved” as the disgraced footballer faces heavy jail time.
Ruggs could go away for anywhere from two to 20 years on the DUI causing death charge, and one to six years for reckless driving, with the possibility of probation. More charges are possible for the injuries his girlfriend sustained and gun possession while intoxicated, the Review-Journal notes.
Prosecutors asked that Ruggs be held on $1 million bail, but it was set at $150,000 by the judge, the Review-Journal reported, after the defense complained it was “excessive” and said Ruggs “has never been in trouble before.”