Judge orders Ruggs back to court after missed alcohol test

Posted at 4:04 PM, November 17, 2021 and last updated 8:39 AM, May 9, 2023

By KEN RITTER Associated Press

LAS VEGAS (AP) — A Las Vegas judge ordered former Raiders receiver Henry Ruggs III to appear before her on Monday after learning he missed a required alcohol test while on house arrest following a fatal crash he’s accused of causing by driving drunk at speeds up to 156 mph.

Ruggs’ lawyers told Justice of the Peace Suzan Baucum that Ruggs “self-tested” negative shortly after missing one of his calls for a breath test last weekend.

FILE – Former Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Henry Ruggs III makes an initial appearance in Las Vegas Justice Court in Las Vegas, Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021. A Las Vegas judge told attorneys for Henry Ruggs III on Wednesday, Nov. 17, 2021, to get their own subpoena for fire department records about the fatal crash and fire the ex-Raiders wide receiver is accused of causing by driving drunk at speeds up to 156 mph. (Steve Marcus/Las Vegas Sun via AP, Pool, File)

Ruggs’ attorney, David Chesnoff, blamed the delay on trouble with testing equipment.

A note posted later in the court record shows Ruggs, 22, missed a test at 4:41 p.m. Saturday and that he completed “a client initiated remote breath test” at 6:28 p.m.

The alcohol monitoring agency noted that it “cannot confirm Mr. Rugg’s sobriety during this point-in-time,” and said Ruggs’ attorney provided an updated phone number for text notifications for Ruggs’ remote breath test.

Ruggs was not in court Wednesday for a brief hearing during which Baucum declined his lawyers’ request for a court order to obtain fire department records about the Nov. 2 crash and fire. She said she’d reconsider if they can’t get the records themselves.

Ruggs could face a return to jail. A judge who set his bail at $150,000 warned Ruggs directly that if he didn’t comply with release restrictions he would face re-arrest.

Ruggs is under home confinement with electronic monitoring and four-times-a-day alcohol checks. He is required to respond to a telephone or text signal by blowing into a device that checks his blood-alcohol level. Records show he owns a $1.1 million home not far from where the crash occurred.

Prosecutors have said Ruggs’ blood-alcohol level after the crash was 0.16%, twice the legal limit for drivers in Nevada.

Authorities said he and his girlfriend, Kiara Je’nai Kilgo-Washington, were injured when Ruggs’ Chevrolet Corvette slammed into the rear of Tina Tintor’s Toyota Rav4, rupturing that vehicle’s fuel tank.

His lawyers have said in court filings that a witness told them firefighters were slow to extinguish flames They have not identified the witness.

Other witnesses told police they heard screams and tried to rescue Tintor, 23, and her dog but were turned back by heat, flames and smoke.

A Clark County spokesman has said there were no delays in the firefighting response or the attack on the fire.

Baucum has set a Dec. 16 preliminary hearing of evidence on two felony charges of driving under the influence causing death or serious injury. Each charge carries two years of mandatory prison time for a conviction, and as much as 20 years each.

Ruggs also faces two felony reckless driving counts and a misdemeanor weapon charge after police said a loaded handgun was found in his wrecked sports car.

Ruggs suffered a leg injury, and Washington underwent surgery for an arm injury, prosecutors said.

Chesnoff and attorney Richard Schonfeld are fighting separately to block prosecutors from accessing Ruggs’ medical records, and an attorney for Washington has launched a similar effort on her behalf. A Dec. 8 hearing is scheduled.

The Raiders made Ruggs their first pick in the 2020 NFL draft from Alabama, where he helped the Crimson Tide win the 2017 NCAA championship. He had been an emerging star for the Raiders this season, but the team released him after his arrest in the crash.