Title: Henry Ruggs’s Fatal Car Crash

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Issue 6, Volume 112

By Phillip Phan 

Former Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Henry Ruggs III was driving with a blood alcohol level twice the legal limit on the night of November 2. He sped at 156 mph in his black Corvette, ultimately slamming into the rear of another car. The car he struck caught fire, burning and killing a 23-year-old woman, Tina Tintor, and her dog, Maxi, inside the vehicle. Ruggs’s girlfriend, who was in the Corvette with him in the crash, dragged Ruggs out of the car. He has been in a neck brace and wheelchair since. Prosecutors charged Ruggs with two counts of driving under the influence causing death and two counts of reckless driving, and he is now looking at 15 to 50 years in prison. The Raiders have also released him as a player, and he has lost his once bright future in the NFL.

Tintor has been described as a gentle soul and a shoulder to lean on by friends and family. She was an immigrant from Serbia and hoped to go into the computer programming field. Her family is devastated and decided not to comment on the trial at court. “She was supposed to wake up at 7:00 a.m. to run errands, but she never got home with her dog,” a friend stated.

Ruggs grew up in Montgomery, Alabama, and it was evident to everyone around him that he was going to be a phenomenal athlete. He excelled in basketball early on and even had Division I basketball offers. He also set state records in track and field, but his true love was football. Ruggs played on the varsity football team when he was a freshman, and his blazing speed made him a threat whenever he touched the ball at Robert E. Lee High School.

For college, Ruggs committed to the University of Alabama. As a freshman, Ruggs caught 12 catches for 229 yards and six touchdowns. Every catch he made turned into a big play. The next year, Ruggs improved his numbers to 46 catches for 741 yards and 11 touchdowns. He went on to be the first receiver taken off the board in the 2018 draft because of his blazing speed.

However, a tragedy traumatized Ruggs for the rest of his career. His best friend, Rod Scott, was killed in a car accident. Ruggs wore number three to honor him and celebrated in his honor each time he scored.

Ruggs showed off his speed at the combine, running a 4.27 second 40-yard dash. He started off slowly with the Raiders in his first two years, but this year, his true potential shone through in his play. Seven games into the season, Ruggs already had 24 catches for 469 yards. His NFL career was beginning to blossom when tragedy struck. All his hard work and talent will go to waste, and his potential will likely never be realized. Many of his teammates and coaches, including Alabama Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban, have stood with Ruggs and spoken about his character, but he still made a fatal mistake, killing an innocent woman.

The NFL provides free car services for players to get around, and calling an Uber hardly would have caused Ruggs financial strife. Ruggs’s mistake is a reminder to the rest of the league of the dangers of driving under the influence. At the end of the day, no money can replace the life lost in this tragedy. The NFL should make an example of Ruggs to prevent similar future tragedies. The Tintor family deserves to see Ruggs behind bars and punished for years to come.