Former Las Vegas Raiders receiver Henry Ruggs has been sentenced to at least three years in prison as a result of a car crash he caused that killed a woman in November 2021.
“I sincerely apologize,” Ruggs said as he stood for sentencing in Las Vegas after pleading guilty in May to felony DUI causing death and misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter, a charge carrying a six-month jail sentence that will be folded in with his three-to-10-year prison term.
Ruggs reportedly was driving 156 mph with a blood alcohol level twice Nevada’s legal limit before his car hit the rear of a vehicle and resulted in the death of Tina Tintor. Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Joe M. Bonaventure said at the time that in 16 years on the bench he had never heard of a crash involving a vehicle traveling so fast.
Ruggs appeared in court following the crash in a wheelchair and wearing a neck brace, but the extent of his injuries was not revealed. The sentence handed down Wednesday is the result of a plea agreement, and the 24-year-old could serve up to 10 years in prison while becoming eligible for parole after three years. He could have faced a 50-year sentence at trial.
“I have no excuses,” Ruggs said, citing pain the case has caused his family, teammates and Tintor’s family.
After prison, he plans to counsel others about the “dangers of driving at unsafe speed and driving and drinking.”
The former first-round pick was released by the Raiders in the immediate aftermath of the crash. The University of Alabama product was the No. 12 overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft and appeared in 20 games with 50 receptions for 921 receiving yards in the two seasons he played.
The Raiders started the 2021 season 5-2, and Ruggs led them in receiving yards in three of those games, including a game with five catches and 113 receiving yards plus a touchdown in Week 2.
The 2021 season was a tumultuous one for the Raiders, with head coach Jon Gruden resigning following Week 5 as a result of emails he wrote that included racist, homophobic and misogynistic terms.
The crash involving Ruggs occurred right after Las Vegas’ bye week that season, its second in the city after moving from Oakland, Calif. Afterwards, the Raiders went 5-5 to finish 10-7 and lost a first-round playoff game to the Cincinnati Bengals. They went 6-11 last season in their first year under head coach Josh McDaniels.
The tragic situation involving Ruggs has now come to a legal conclusion and can serve as an example to other NFL players and anyone else about the dangers and ramifications of drunk driving.