Ruggs was driving over 150 mph before fatal crash, blood-alcohol twice the legal limit

Sports

(KLAS-TV 8 News Now)

WEDNESDAY 11/3/2021 12:58 p.m.

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Former Raiders wide receiver Henry Ruggs III was driving at more than 150 mph with a blood-alcohol content twice Nevada’s legal limit before his sports car slammed into the rear of a vehicle that burned, killing a 23-year-old woman, a prosecutor said Wednesday.

The Raiders released Ruggs late Tuesday, just hours after the crash, his hospitalization and his booking into a Las Vegas jail. He had his initial court appearance Wednesday on felony charges of driving under the influence of alcohol resulting in death and reckless driving that could get him up to 26 years in state prison if he is convicted.

Ruggs, 22, appearing with his attorneys, David Chesnoff and Richard Schonfeld, was not asked to enter a plea to the charges, pending the formal filing of charges by Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson.

The name of the Las Vegas woman who died in the wrecked and burned Toyota Rav4 with her dog was not immediately made public.

Las Vegas police have identified Ruggs’ passenger as Kiara Je’nai Kilgo-Washington, 22, of Las Vegas.

Ruggs and Kilgo-Washington were hospitalized with unspecified injuries that police said did not appear life-threatening after the Chevrolet Corvette he was driving slammed into the Toyota at about 3:40 a.m. Tuesday.

Ruggs owns a $1.1 million home not far from where the crash occurred, according to property records.

Prosecutor Eric Bauman said air bag computer records showed the Corvette decelerated from 156 mph (251 kph) to 127 mph (204 kph) before it struck the Toyota.

Judge Joe M. Bonaventure said moments later he could not recall a speed that high involved in a crash case since he became a judge. Nevertheless, the judge rejected Bauman’s request for $1 million bail and set bail, at Chesnoff’s request, at $150,000 with strict conditions, including home confinement, electronic monitoring, no alcohol, no driving and surrender of Ruggs’ passport.

Bauman said Ruggs’ blood-alcohol level was 0.16%. Police said previously in a statement that Ruggs “showed signs of impairment.”

Bauman also said a loaded firearm was found on the floor of the car.

Wolfson said outside court he may file a weapon charge and expects to file a second DUI charge against Ruggs based on the serious arm injuries that he said Kilgo-Washington suffered.

The judge set Ruggs’ next court appearance for Nov. 10.

Probation is not an option in Nevada for a conviction on a charge of DUI causing death, which carries a possible sentence of two to 20 years in state prison. The possible sentence for reckless driving is one to six years in prison, with probation available.

The Raiders didn’t wait for courts to act, sending out a brief statement Tuesday night announcing Ruggs’ release.

The team and the league had issued statements earlier in the day saying officials were aware of the crash, offering condolences to the family of the woman who died and promising to gather facts about what the NFL called “this devastating incident.”

Ruggs was supposed to be a cornerstone for the Raiders. He was picked 12th overall in the 2020 draft after three years at Alabama, including helping the Crimson Tide win the NCAA championship as a freshman in 2017.

Ruggs was emerging as a star this season with 24 catches for a team-high 469 yards and two touchdowns. As a rookie in 2020, he had 26 catches for 452 yards and two touchdowns.

Ruggs’ crash occurred three weeks after Jon Gruden abruptly resigned as Raiders coach over emails he sent before being hired by the team in 2018. Gruden stepped down after The New York Times reported that the emails had racist, homophobic and misogynistic comments.

The AFC West-leading Raiders (5-2) have won two in a row under interim coach Rich Bisaccia and now return to the field this week without their leading receiver in yardage. They’ll visit the New York Giants (2-6) on Sunday.

The crash also came less than a year after Raiders running back Josh Jacobs crashed a sports car into a tunnel wall on a roadway at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas.

Jacobs received several stitches for a cut forehead and was initially charged with driving under the influence, but that charge was dropped a week later because Jacobs’ blood-alcohol level did not reach the 0.08% level needed to pursue the case. Chesnoff and Schonfeld represented Jacobs in that case, which was closed in March after Jacobs mentored at a Boys & Girls Club and paid a $500 fine to resolve a failure to exercise due care traffic violation.

UPDATE: Raiders release WR Henry Ruggs III after fatal Vegas crash

WEDNESDAY 11/3/2021 5:22 a.m.

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The Las Vegas Raiders released Henry Ruggs III just hours before the promising young receiver faced an initial court appearance on multiple felony charges after a fiery predawn vehicle crash that left a woman dead and Ruggs and his female passenger injured.

The 22-year-old Ruggs and his passenger were hospitalized with unspecified injuries that police said did not appear life-threatening after the Chevrolet Corvette he was driving slammed at high speed into the rear of a Toyota Rav4 on a busy thoroughfare in a residential area several miles west of the Las Vegas Strip about 3:40 a.m. Tuesday.

The Toyota burst into flames and the driver and her dog died, police said. The woman was not immediately identified.

Ruggs “showed signs of impairment,” police said in a statement that did not identify the woman who died, the injuries that Ruggs or his passenger received or name Ruggs’ passenger, who remained hospitalized.

Police are prohibited by federal privacy law from disclosing medical information, said Officer Larry Hadfield, a department spokesman.

Ruggs faces felony charges of driving under the influence of alcohol resulting in death and reckless driving, court records show. Ruggs was released from a hospital and taken to jail ahead of an initial court appearance scheduled on Wednesday.

Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson did not immediately respond to messages about the charges.

Probation is not an option in Nevada for a conviction on a charge of DUI causing death, which carries a possible sentence of two to 20 years in state prison. The possible sentence for reckless driving is one to six years in prison, with probation available.

Ruggs’ attorneys, David Chesnoff and Richard Schonfeld, said they are investigating the crash on behalf of their client “and ask everyone to reserve judgment until all the facts are gathered.”

Chesnoff declined additional comment after Ruggs was released from University Medical Center and booked into the Clark County Detention Center.

The Raiders didn’t wait for the courts to act, sending out a brief statement Tuesday night announcing Ruggs’ release. The Raiders had issued a statement earlier in the day saying the team was aware of the crash, “devastated by the loss of life,” and “in the process of gathering information.”

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy issued a statement saying, “Our hearts go out to the family and friends of the victim of this horrific tragedy. We will continue to gather facts and monitor the matter under our policies, but our thoughts at this time are with those impacted by this devastating incident.”

Ruggs was supposed to be a cornerstone for the Raiders. He was picked 12th overall in the 2020 draft after a productive three-year career at Alabama, including helping the Crimson Tide win the NCAA championship as a freshman in 2017.

Ruggs was one of the fastest receivers in the game and was following a long line of speedster wideouts on the Raiders following players like Art Powell, Warren Wells and Cliff Branch.

After an unimpressive rookie season, Ruggs was emerging as a star this season with 24 catches for a team-high 469 yards and two touchdowns. As a rookie in 2020, he had 26 catches for 452 yards and two touchdowns.

The crash occurred three weeks after Jon Gruden abruptly resigned as Raiders coach over emails he sent before being hired by the team in 2018. Gruden stepped down after The New York Times reported that the emails had racist, homophobic and misogynistic comments.

The AFC West-leading Raiders (5-2) have won two in a row under interim coach Rich Bisaccia and now return to the field this week without their leading receiver in yardage. They’ll visit the New York Giants (2-6) on Sunday.

UPDATE: Raiders WR Ruggs facing felony charges in fatal Vegas crash

TUESDAY 11/02/2021 7:08 p.m.

Raiders wide receiver Henry Ruggs III was released from a hospital to a Las Vegas jail ahead of an initial court appearance Wednesday on multiple felony charges after a fiery predawn vehicle crash that left a woman dead and Ruggs and his female passenger injured, police and his attorney said.

Ruggs, 22, and his passenger were hospitalized with unspecified injuries that police said did not appear life-threatening after the Chevrolet Corvette he was driving slammed at high speed into the rear of a Toyota Rav4 on a busy thoroughfare in a residential area several miles west of the Las Vegas Strip about 3:40 a.m. Tuesday.

The Toyota burst into flames and the driver and her dog died, police said. The woman was not immediately identified.

No other information has been released at this time. Local Five will update this story when new details are made public.

ORIGINAL STORY:One dead after fatal car crash, NFL first-round pick facing charges

TUESDAY 11/02/2021 1:22 p.m.

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Raiders wide receiver Henry Ruggs III is facing a driving under the influence charge after a fiery vehicle crash early Tuesday in Las Vegas that left a woman dead and Ruggs and his female passenger injured, authorities said.

According to police, Ruggs was driving a Chevrolet Corvette a little before 3:40 a.m. when it crashed into the rear of a Toyota Rav4 on a busy thoroughfare in a residential area several miles west of the Las Vegas Strip.

The Toyota caught fire and the driver died, police said. She was not immediately identified.

Ruggs, 22, “showed signs of impairment,” police said in a statement that said he will be charged with felony DUI resulting in death.

Ruggs and his female passenger were hospitalized. Ruggs’ injuries were described by officials as not life-threatening. The female passenger was not immediately identified.

Charges were not immediately filed.

Ruggs’ attorney, David Chesnoff, and Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson said they were aware of the crash. They declined immediate comment about details.

Police closed the roadway through the morning to investigate the crash, and Wolfson said he was being briefed about the ongoing investigation.

Ruggs was born in Montgomery, Alabama, and played college football for Alabama.

He was picked 12th by Las Vegas in the 2020 NFL draft and played in 13 games in 2020.

He has caught 24 passes this season for the Raiders, including two touchdowns.

The Raiders are 5-2 this season and are coming off a bye week ahead of a game Sunday at the New York Giants.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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