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Raiders’ wide receiver to be charged with DUI resulting in death of a 23-year-old woman after fatal car crash


Jon Becker

The Mercury News

Raiders wide receiver Henry Ruggs III will be charged with DUI resulting in death after he was involved in a fatal car crash early Tuesday morning, Las Vegas police said.

The 22-year-old Ruggs was treated for non-life-threatening injuries at a nearby Las Vegas hospital after his Chevrolet Corvette allegedly crashed into a Toyota Rav4 around 3:39 a.m. and killed a 23-year-old woman, according to the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department’s report.

Officers responding to the collision in the Central Las Vegas Valley area found the woman’s body inside the Toyota, which was engulfed in flames. Both vehicles had sustained heavy damage, with debris scattered. A preliminary investigation revealed Ruggs’ car was traveling at “a high rate of speed” and rear-ended the victim’s vehicle, which caught on fire, police said.

Ruggs was on the scene of the crash near on Rainbow Boulevard near Spring Valley Parkway when authorities arrive. He was cooperative, although the police report says he “showed signs of impairment.” There was no indication of what injuries Ruggs suffered.

A female passenger in Ruggs’ car was transported to the hospital with serious injuries, the police said.

Charges against Ruggs were not immediately filed because Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson said he would wait for the results of the police investigation.

“The Raiders are aware of an accident involving Henry Ruggs III that occurred this morning in Las Vegas. 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,” the Raiders said in a statement.

Ruggs’ attorneys, David Chesnoff and Richard Schonfeld, released a statement saying they will conduct their own investigation and asked that “everyone reserve judgment until all the facts are gathered.”

According to Nevada law, DUI resulting in death carries a minimum prison sentence of two years, and a maximum of 20 years. A conviction would also include fines up to $5,000 and a 3-year license suspension. While charges can often be pleaded down, probation isn’t an option for anyone convicted of DUI that causes death.

Ruggs’ crash continues the Raiders’ nightmarish stretch of recent off-the-field news. Three weeks ago, coach Jon Gruden resigned as coach after the discovery of emails he sent years ago containing misogynistic and homophobic language, including some missives directed at NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

While there’s no indication yet on Ruggs’ physical condition following the crash, his status with the Raiders this season is obviously in question, with NFL sanctions pending. The Raiders (5-2) had their bye week last week and will travel to New York to face the Giants on Sunday.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy said in a statement that the league would monitor Ruggs’ case at the appropriate time.

“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,” the league said.

Ruggs is at least the third NFL player in recent years to face DUI charges in a fatal crash. Both of those players faced NFL-imposed suspensions ranging from 10 games to one full season.

Cleveland Browns receiver Donte Stallworth pleaded guilty to DUI manslaughter after he was driving drunk and killed a pedestrian who was walking across a street in 2009. Stallworth, who had a blood-alcohol level of .126 at the time of the crash, wound up serving 30 days in prison, and paid an undisclosed settlement to his victim’s family. He also served two years of house arrest and was on probation for eight years.

Stallworth also had his driver’s license suspended for life, paid a court-ordered fine of $10,000 and had to perform 1,000 hours of community service. Stallworth was suspended for the season by the NFL.

In 2012, Cowboys defensive lineman Josh Brent was charged with intoxication manslaughter after he crashed his car and killed his Dallas teammate, Jerry Brown, who was riding with him. Brent was sentenced to 180 days in jail and 10 years probation. The NFL suspended Brent for 10 games.

Ruggs is the leading receiver for the first-place Raiders with 469 yards this season on 24 catches and two touchdowns. The 2020 first-round pick (No. 12 overall) caught 26 passes for 452 yards and two scores in 13 games (12 starts) in his rookie season.

This is the second crash in Las Vegas this year involving a Raiders first-round pick suspected of driving under the influence. Pro Bowl running back Josh Jacobs was arrested for DUI in a single-car accident on Jan. 4, just hours after the team’s last game of the season. Jacobs, however, was absolved of the DUI charge after an investigation showed his blood-alcohol level was below the legal limit of 0.08%.

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