Former Raiders wide receiver Henry Ruggs III was driving 156 mph with a blood-alcohol content twice Nevada’s legal limit before his car slammed into the rear of a vehicle that burned, killing a 23-year-old woman, according to prosecutors.
Ruggs 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. The Raiders released Ruggs late Tuesday, just hours after the crash, his hospitalization and his booking into a Las Vegas jail.
Prosecutors said Ruggs was traveling 156 mph two seconds before the crash and was at 127 mph when the air bags deployed in his vehicle. Judge Joe M. Bonaventure responded that he couldn’t recall speeds that high involved in a crash during his career on the bench.
Ruggs, 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 to 127 mph before it struck the Toyota. Bonaventure 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 the surrender of Ruggs’ passport.
Bauman said Ruggs’ blood-alcohol level was 0.161%. 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.
Bonaventure set Ruggs’ next court appearance for Nov. 10.
Wolfson said outside court that he might file a weapons charge and expects to file a second DUI charge against Ruggs based on the serious arm injuries that he said Kilgo-Washington suffered.
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 after being selected 12th overall in the 2020 NFL draft after three years at Alabama, including helping the Crimson Tide win the NCAA championship as a freshman in 2017.
With 24 catches for 469 yards and two touchdowns, Ruggs’ 19.5 yards-per-catch average was second in the NFL among pass-catchers with at least 20 receptions.
Ruggs lost a childhood friend, Rod Scott, in a car accident in 2016, and Ruggs pays tribute to him by putting up three fingers — Scott wore No. 3 — to the sky after big plays.
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.
ESPN’s Paul Gutierrez and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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