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Henry Ruggs blames slow response time from firefighters for victim’s death, not his drunk driving

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Brian Fonseca

nj.com

Lawyers for Henry Ruggs III, the former Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver accused of driving drunk at speeds up to 156 mph before a fiery predawn crash on Nov. 2. that resulted in the death of the other vehicle’s passenger, wrote in a court filing that a witness said firefighters were slow to extinguish a vehicle fire sparked by the crash, according to ESPN.

Ruggs, 22, is facing felony charges of driving under the influence of alcohol resulting in death and reckless driving, according to court records.

The comments came in a Wednesday court filing, per ESPN, a day before a funeral for Tina Tintor, the 23-year-old victim who died in the crash, was held at St. Simeon Serbian Orthodox Church in Las Vegas. Raiders owner Mark Davis was seen among more than 100 people to attend the ceremony, which was followed by a private burial at a Las Vegas cemetery.

“Firemen did not attempt to extinguish the fire at Ms. Tintor’s vehicle for approximately 20 minutes at which time the entire vehicle was engulfed in flames,” defense attorneys David Chesnoff and Richard Schonfeld said in the Wednesday court filing that does not identify their witness, per ESPN.

The attorneys seek a court order to obtain Clark County Fire Department records about the crash and fire. A Nov. 17 court hearing was scheduled.

A county spokesman, Erik Pappa, said in a statement Thursday there were “no delays in response or in the attack on the fire.”

“The captain on the scene reported that the vehicle was fully involved in fire upon arrival and the passenger compartment was not survivable for anyone inside,” the statement said.

If convicted, Ruggs would face two to 20 years in prison.

Tintor was heard screaming following the incident, according to a report from the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Alexander Hart, a security guard for a nearby condominium community, said he heard screams coming from the Toyota, per the report. He told police that the driver was still alive and he couldn’t pull her out of the vehicle because she was pinned inside.

The car “was soon overcome with smoke and heat from flames,” and Hart had to back away, according to the report. Tintor was only a few blocks from her residence. Her dog, who was in the back seat, also died in the accident.

Prosecutor Eric Bauman told Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Joe M. Bonaventure during Ruggs’ initial court hearing on Wednesday that air bag computer records showed that the Corvette decelerated from 156 mph to 127 mph before it slammed into Tintor’s Toyota RAV4, rupturing the vehicle’s fuel tank and igniting a fireball, per ESPN.

Bauman said Ruggs was uncooperative with police and medical workers, and his blood alcohol level taken within the required two hours after the crash was 0.161%, twice the legal limit. He also said there was a loaded firearm found inside the floor of the car Ruggs was driving.

Bail for Ruggs was set at $150,000 and the 22-year-old was ordered to abstain from alcohol. He also was ordered not to drive and to surrender his passport, per local TV station KLAS. The judge in the case said he “couldn’t recall seeing a speed that high.”

The Raiders cut ties with Ruggs hours after the crash.

Ruggs was a 2020 first-round pick by the Raiders out of Alabama. He’s played in seven games this season, with 24 receptions for 469 yards and two touchdowns.

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