Following a fiery 2021 crash that resulted in the death of Viviana Fernandez-Jones and her dog, former Raiders wide receiver Henry Ruggs III agreed to plead guilty. He was sentenced to at least three years and up to ten years in state prison during an August 9 hearing at the Regional Justice Center in downtown Las Vegas.
On November 2, 2021, Ruggs reportedly died from a blood alcohol content of twice the legal limit and driving 156 MPH when his Chevrolet Corvette collided with Tina Tintor in her Toyota RAV4 early that morning. The Las Vegas Raiders released the former first-round pick from Alabama later that day.
Ruggs pleaded guilty to death DUI charges and vehicular manslaughter, but had more charges dropped in return.
At the beginning of the hearing, he briefly took responsibility for his actions.
Ruggs offered an “utterly sincere apology” and acknowledged that he does not have any excuses. He expressed regret to the victim’s family, friends, and teammates, among others, while also stating that the incident is not representative of his identity and advocating for awareness of the dangers associated with speeding and drunk driving.
The attorney representing Ruggs stated that his client has been under house arrest with electronic monitoring for more than 18 months and considers his behavior to be absolutely “aberrant” and not a reflection of his true self.
He stated that the accused is “sincerely sorry” for his actions.
A representative for the victim’s mother presented a written statement to the court, discussing how her daughter was killed and taken away due to negligence.
The statement highlighted Tintor’s benevolence, which involved her tendency to be particularly helpful in the care of wandering animals. Her mother stated that the victim “admired the beauty and vitality of every soul.”
“Her beauty has been taken away from the world,” her mother remarked. She expressed her desire for everyone involved to continue caring for one another.
Judge Jennifer Schwartz referred to the case as “one of the most tragic” ones she has encountered. She noted that Ruggs had no prior criminal record and had faced numerous challenges in his life before the “traumatic, tragic case.”
She also mentioned that the judiciary requires consistency, and with that in mind, she sentenced Ruggs to the 36-120 months he had agreed upon as his term. He will also serve a concurrent sentence for the lesser misdemeanor charge as well.
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