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Former Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Henry Ruggs III was traveling nearly 160 miles per hour prior to killing a woman in a fiery car wreck this week, according to prosecutors.
Ruggs appeared in Las Vegas Justice Court on Wednesday on charges of DUI resulting in death. He was driving 156 miles per hour and had a blood alcohol content more than twice Nevada’s legal limit when he slammed into 23-year-old Tina O. Tintor’s Toyota Rav4 on Nov. 2, killing her, prosecutors told Oxygen.com.
Ruggs, who was behind the wheel of a 2020 Chevrolet Corvette, veered right at what police said was a “high rate of speed” moments before colliding with Tintor’s vehicle. Tintor was pronounced dead by the time authorities extinguished the blaze shortly before 4 a.m. Her dog also died in the blaze.
Ruggs was treated at an area hospital along with a fellow passenger, 22-year-old Kiara Je'nai Kilgo-Washington. The NFL wide receiver was later taken into police custody and charged with driving under the influence and reckless driving resulting in death.
Prior to police and fire crews arriving on the scene, one witness reportedly attempted to pull Tintor from the burning SUV before flames engulfed the entire vehicle.
"I thought for sure we were going to be able to do something. The fire was so small at the time," Tony Rodriguez told ABC affiliate KTNV-TV. "It just grew fast. Really fast. There was one person with a fire extinguisher, a county worker, that didn’t work. It wasn’t enough. It was just so fast."
Tintor, who was pinned inside the Toyota as flames began to spread, was still alive when he rushed to her aid.
"Everything we tried just wasn’t working," Rodriguez described. "You could hear her breathing. She had her seat belt on and I was trying to cut that away. Trying to grab them by their shoulders and pull them out but that wasn’t working. They were pinned."
Rodriguez said he hasn’t slept since the incident.
“It’s sad that somebody could be going that fast and cause that accident like that,” he added.
Ruggs was released from a Clark County detention center following his court appearance Wednesday morning, according to ESPN. He’s scheduled back in court on Nov. 10.
"On behalf of our client Henry Ruggs III we are conducting our own investigation as of this writing and ask everyone to reserve judgment until all the facts are gathered," his lawyers, David Z. Chesnoff and Richard Schonfeld said in a joint statement sent to Oxygen.com on Wednesday.
Ruggs was selected 12th overall by the Las Vegas Raiders in the 2020 NFL draft. He has since been released by the team.
"The Raiders are aware of an accident involving Henry Ruggs III that occurred this morning in Las Vegas," a spokesperson for the Raiders said in a statement sent to Oxygen.com. "We are devastated 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."
Tintor, a Serbian national, was described by loved ones as a loyal friend and an animal-lover who was optimistic about her future.
“She was just about to get her citizenship and everything was going swell,” Bojana Filipovic told Las Vegas television station KVVU-TV. “She’d give you a shoulder to lean on, and she’ll always slap sense into you if you do something wrong. I wish I got to say goodbye, and I’ll see you in the next life.”
Tintor’s church community also released a statement memorializing her this week, describing her as a “beautiful soul.”
“We are all extremely saddened by this terrible accident,” Goran Glavas, the president of St. Simeon Serbian Orthodox Church in Las Vegas said. “[She was] always polite and respectful just like [the] rest of her relatives and friends. We understand that this is [a] very difficult time for her family and the whole community.”
If convicted on the DUI charge, Ruggs could spend up to a maximum of 20 years in prison. He’s facing one to six years behind bars if found guilty of reckless driving.
The Las Vegas Police Department didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment regarding the ongoing case this week.
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