Episode 19: Henry Ruggs III - Fatal Car Crash (2021)
2:40PM Jan 18, 2023
Welcome to Just curious media. This is that's a crime. I'm Jason Connell.
And I'm Sal Rodriguez.
All right. So we are back for another crime.
I want to say, fortunately, but also unfortunately,
true. Very true.
I don't think that covering crime is without its consequence. Yeah. I mean, we're forced, because let me tell you some adjacent. I'm not the kind of guy who likes to look at the news every single day. I'm not because you know why you're going to see a lot of horrific stuff. You only see a lot of stuff that will upset you. And since we started, that's a crime. I'm having to look at a lot of upsetting stuff. And this is no exception. That's for sure.
Is this your way of leaving the show?
I'm stepping down as code. No, I'll be back. But, but it is. This is a tragedy here.
Yes, it is. And today, we are breaking down the True Crime Story of Henry ruggs. The third fatal car crash and 2021.
Yeah, very new.
This is very recent, actually. I mean, just last month, it's November of 2021. So let's jump in. So Henry James rugs, a third was born January 24 1999, is an American football wide receiver, who played college football at Alabama. The six foot 190 pound rugs was the fastest player at the 2021 NFL Combine and was selected by the Las Vegas Raiders almost said Los Angeles, or Oakland, Las Vegas Raiders with the 12th pick in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Now on November 2 2021, ruggs, was charged with driving under the influence after he was involved in a crash that killed 23 year old Tina tentar. And her dog Max. Later that day, the Raiders released rocks. Tragic indeed, Sal.
Yeah, double bad double tragedy because you have a death and then you have one of the death of a career, that's for sure.
Yeah. It's truly a cautionary tale. I mean, this was not a premeditated incident. It's just a poor decision. And we're gonna get into it, and kind of also do some more backstory of rugs himself. But another career that you always want that so many people just can never get. It's not that easy. Being an NFL athlete and elite athlete that just being picked first round and the NFL Draft. I mean, it is what most athletes dream of, and they're never going to get close. And here's someone who has it. And in an instant, it's gone. A life's gone. A Dog's gone. truly tragic. I wanted to cover it. I knew it'd be hard, but it's new. It's relevant. I'm a big NFL fan. This comes up all the time. And I was like, You know what we do a show on crime. Let's cover it, understand more of it. Honor Tina tentar as well. And just do what we do sell
and honor Max because I know you're a big dog lover. Of course.
The dog thing kills me and its own right and a dog that's even mistreated. Oh, let alone killed way before their time. It tears me up inside. So before examining the crime in more detail, I want to share some background on rugs. Just how easily this 22 year old 22 years old. So I mean, Tina was 23 He's only 22 This is insane. But how one terrible decision has real everlasting consequences. Oh, yeah. So the Early Years ruggs grew up in Montgomery, Alabama, and did not play high school football until his junior year and received his first scholarship offer after just his second game. So that's just how special he is or was. Yeah, as a senior he scored 20 touchdowns and he also played basketball and ran track. In fact, his 100 meter dash time of 10.58 seconds was a state record. ruggs received scholarship offers from more than 20 colleges to play football. And of course, he chose the University of Alabama now just so you know, Sal? Yeah, they have been a powerhouse, the most elite program over the last let's call it 15 years. Oh, Nick Saban went there. So yes, to go there as like, oh my gosh, you're a next level player and you're probably going to go to the NFL. That's what happens. So in college as a true freshman at Alabama and 2017 Rugs had 12 receptions for 229 yards and six touchdowns as the Alabama Crimson Tide won the national championship. Now over the next two seasons rugs would amass 86 receptions, 1400 87 yards and 18 touchdowns. His career total of 24 touchdowns, placed him third on Alabama's all time leaderboard. On January 6 2020 ruggs announced that he would forego his senior year and enter the 2020 NFL draft. So he's so elite Sal that he's coming out early and a lot of players do it. But not everyone can pull it off some need to stay in the year, get some more stats build up their body, but he probably had an agent in his ear. And when you have that window, you just take it because you could get injured and blah, blah, blah. But so he's entered the NFL draft a year early. And on a personal story. This is kind of interesting. ruggs credits his friend Roderick Scott with encouraging him to play football in high school because again, he didn't play till his junior year. Well, unfortunately, Scott died in a car crash at 17 years of age and rugs honors him with a three finger salute after every touchdown because Scott wore number three on the basketball court.
That's like a movie of the weekend and of itself, I think
exactly right. Yeah. So then on May 7 2020, ruggs is daughter Kinsley Rene was born to his long term girlfriend, Chiara, kill go, Washington. So he's a new father. And this is recent. I mean, this is unbelievable.
Everything's going great. Everything's going
great. Everything's going fact his girlfriend's in the car with him. But we're about to get into that. So now comes the fateful night the fatal car crash again on November 2 2021 hours before the incident, rugs and his girlfriend who I just mentioned, Chiara Kilgore, Washington. They were seeing drinking at a top golf location in Las Vegas. So I don't know if you're familiar. They have these places all over. They look really neat. There's a driving range. There's a bar. It's really cool. Hi, and I don't know if you've ever heard of Top Golf.
Oh, so it's not like a golf and stuff. It's not like a family putt, putt golf place.
No, it's a little more high end. Little more adults drinking. Yeah, so they were doing that probably the driving range is having a good
old time, right? Well, yeah, sounds neat.
So apparently they left some time after midnight in his Chevrolet, Corvette Stingray. Now police said that around 3:39am ruggs was driving south this is this number I had to like verify a few times as well as watch videos, but he was driving the sting rate 156 miles per hour. Oh my gosh. 156. There are security footage, which I know I sent you today of TMZ. showing just a few seconds you see actually, Tina's car, which is a Toyota rav4 go by. And then a few seconds later, you see a car going 10 times faster. And it's a blur. You don't see the impact, but you just see them passing by. And just that alone, you can see that they're both in the same lane. So that's the only footage we see prereq I mean, what did you think of just what we've watched, which is
no one asked you? What's the fastest you've ever driven?
Hmm, nowhere near 156
I've gotten over 100 A couple of times. Yeah, just 100 like for just for just like, just to say I did I guess you know,
Oh, it's scary. And you gotta be in the right car.
Once you start hitting that 100 mile an hour point. Yeah, you better look up.
It was day time, not a soul around road trip. I could see for miles no one. So I was like, Okay, I'm going to press it right here. And then I'm going to throttle back and I usually drive right at the speed limit if just a few over I do not push it too far on road trips or anything and nor do I have a car that can even handle that capacity. I'm I'm always in an SUV.
Yeah, any car I've been in with top out about 110.
Yeah. So first of all, I'm shocked that cars are can go that fast that we sell them to people. That's a whole other I don't understand that. There's no need for it.
Yeah. Well, there's always the idea of what if you had to run for your life, I guess. Yeah, I mean, you know, I think maybe we've seen road warrior or Mad Max too much. Like, why would you have to? Like what's the fastest you've ever needed to go? 90? That's about it. Because maybe your trucks on your ass? Maybe you know what I mean? Maybe But yeah, there's no need to probably go anything above 100. Probably not necessary.
No. Oh, when you're watching that footage. Any thoughts? Any takeaways?
Well, you know, well, one thing you notice right away is that the streets are empty. You just see the two cars, right 3:30am There's this image been floating around the internet for a while of this post, maybe like a telephone post in the middle of the desert, like in the middle of nowhere. The only post around for miles, and a car comes and crashes into it. Wow. So this reminds me of that. I mean, she was the only thing around and she gets crashed into.
Yeah, and what could the speed limit be? It wasn't a highway. Maybe it's 40. Right? You got to figure she's probably five at the most 45. And just quickly about her before we get into the impact. We don't know a lot about Tina tinter or max, but we do know that she was a 2016 graduate of Durango high school. And she was actually driving home after taking her dog Max on a late night walk with her best friend, and was just two miles away from her home. Terrible. So while that's going on, and she's headed home rugs is behind her and that video can see so he's going 156 as he sees her probably just for a half second, right? He just sees her attempts to brake as he approaches her Toyota rav4 and hits her as he's going 120 miles an hour, so he was able to stop a little bit upon impact tinter and her dog Max initially survived. And what's shocking to me is rugs and his girlfriend because she's in the car as well. They're okay. minor injuries, but they hit their car, they're okay as well. But then the graph for is engulfed in flames. And they burned to death. Oh my gosh. And there's footage that you've also seen and just a glimpse. It's like a camera phone far away. You just see it in golf, and there's cops around, and someone's ran around. I don't know who that is, if it's rugs are his girlfriend or a passerby, and you can't do anything. I mean, there's the rav4 and flames. I mean, it's just hang
on, Jason. Hang on. Let me let me yeah, this took me a second to wrap my head around. They didn't die from the accident.
They die. I mean, from that fire the impact from the fire,
so they did what I've read burn to death. Yeah. That's horrible. That's so horrible. I mean, you can't tell from the video the video you see flames. You You see in the video that something is on fire. You can't really tell. But what you are seeing then is essentially you you're seeing them burn alive. That's terrible.
Terrible, how helpless the police are, what are they going to do? And they're not the fire department and even that much flames that heat? Yeah. I mean, listen, that's just what I read. That could have been an impact that could have been I'm sure they were injured. They were hit from behind. Again, I am shocked that rugs and that sting ray didn't also go up in flames. I mean, remember what happened to from Fast and Furious. Paul Walker, Paul Walker, you know, gets in a car, they're doing some sort of event. That driver wasn't him, loses control, they hit a tree goes up in flames boom done kills him and his friend immediately. So I'm just shocked that anybody walked away from this accident. We did also learn sow and trying to find out more information about Tina and max that there was a GoFundMe? Yes, yeah. And you just went there. And once you tell everybody what you came across?
Well, to be clear, Jason there. There was a GoFundMe, right, what happened is the family appears to maybe have reached their goal or reached a goal. Now they have raised over $103,000. And then there's a little share, and I was looking into the share option. But no, it says the organizer has currently disabled new donations to this fundraiser. Let me just read the last paragraph here on the GoFundMe because there is indeed a page and the page is titled, support for Tina, tinter and Max and there's a sweet picture of Tina and Max, they're sitting on the gas, very sweet. They say our family is incredibly grateful for the support on behalf of Tina and Max. It is our hope that their lives can be honored in ways Tina would have loved. We have decided to close this GoFundMe to new donations. But if you would like to support animals in our community, we encourage you to visit hearts alive village and donate in Tina and Max's names. And then there is indeed a link there to hearts alive Village Memorial Fund. So yeah, go to the GoFundMe and then that'll link you over to the hearts alive village. Or maybe just go to hearts alive. village.org and search Tina and Max. Wow.
Well, that's really special. I'm glad they hit their goal. I love what they had to say. I'm also just touched that they turned it off because obviously more money would have come in this yes getting much publicity.
I mean, I don't know I don't have a lot of experience with GoFundMe can could they just keep going and going and going with it. But
that wasn't their goal. Maybe they needed to do something they're probably going to donate it for other things or they had some expenses to cover but really sweet and touching. I've have seen lots of photos of Tina and Max and Sal I'm telling you that it's hard to look at and not get sad. So back to the accident rugs and his girlfriend were transported to the University Medical Center of Southern Nevada with non life threatening injuries. Police said that rugs his blood alcohol content was measured at point one six 1% More than twice the legal limit in Nevada. So I don't know a lot about blood alcohol content and limits and such. I don't even know if that's equivalent to California or Nevada is far different. But do you know much about it?
Well For years, the California level was 8.08 or something like that. It was a point oh, something. So this would be I think twice that. Yeah, so maybe it's similar. But what they did do recently, and I think we recently were notified from the California DMV, they actually lowered that. Did they? Yeah, it would be officially a lowering, right? It wouldn't be a raising, they lowered the blood alcohol level. So in other words, you can have less alcohol now and be officially over the legal limit now. Right? So everybody within earshot, make sure that you stay within the legal limit of alcohol consumption before driving. And but Jason, we've seen all of us have seen many incidences of the drunk person surviving Yeah, doesn't say that they had any injuries at all.
No, I just know what I see photos of rugs now in court, he's got a neck brace on so I don't know the severity are his girlfriend. I mean, often, Sal, many times I've seen and read or heard about the passenger dice. Oh, and it's usually a one car accident, right? They've been drinking. This is other pro athletes. This has happened. And just people in general, the driver survived. And then there's that death trap seat, right, the passenger seat and they died. And this though they both survive. I've seen the car. It's kind of crushed in it almost. It's a low car. It's a stingray kind of went underneath the rav4 rav4 was a little higher, and probably just got wedged in and got burned, but they were able to get out of the car. So and also it wasn't a head on right. They just went into an I don't know what caused the rav4 to then burn up which Yeah, it's not like a Ford Pinto. I don't know why that would have had they
totally did get lucky because I'm having flashbacks of the Jane Mansfield accident. Very little, but that one where they went beneath the truck in front of them. Yeah. And yeah, that was horrific. So you guys, anybody listening can check out? Do some research on the Jane Mansfield death. It's pretty gruesome. Yeah.
So ruggs was then booked into the Clark County Detention Center and later charged with two felony counts of driving under the influence, two felony counts of reckless driving and a misdemeanor gun charge. Well, four felonies one misdemeanor cell. So now each DUI count is punishable by two to 20 years in prison and a fine of 2000 to $5,000. Each reckless driving count carries a penalty of one to six years in prison and a fine in the same amount. If ruggs is convicted of the DUI charges, he must be sentenced to prison. He cannot receive probation. ruggs was also charged with possessing a gun while under the influence of drugs or alcohol a misdemeanor punishment in Nevada by a maximum of six months in prison, or up to $1,000 in fines. Yes, for both. So nothing's happened yet. He's waiting for sentencing. But Sal, it doesn't look good for raags. He's definitely going to be doing some time.
Well, I think that this episode will necessitate a follow up. Because now here we are. I'm thinking that we don't have resolution yet. It's a little bit early. So I definitely would like to revisit this again. I would like to do a follow up on this. Yeah, because it's one thing when there's a crime or a tragedy, then you have the court case, then you have the outcome, the sentencing. And then the ultimate punishment. That's when it's concluded, if you will. So yeah, I want to see how this plays out. Yeah, I
agree. I agree. And I know this type of episode, Sal, it's real somber. It's hard to get up about much of anything, because we just knew going in. And it's also, you know, it's good for us to flex different muscles. Sure. We love doing a lighter misdemeanor. Sure. It's a lot more fun and Jubilee. And this is the whole thing is just like there's this cloud over this episode, because it is tragic. I mean, here's a guy who got something most don't achieve. And he's probably a good person. In fact, on that note, why don't you read a couple of responses, there was several from current NFL players, to previous coaches. But I pulled a couple out here, and they're not just celebrating rocks, but it's just showing that they know him very well. And also, these two people are well known one being Raiders quarterback Derek Carr.
Yeah. He says, rugs needs to be loved. And that if no one else will do it, I'll do it. Yeah,
they were pretty tight. In fact, I remember hearing or reading something where they were texting that night. Oh, and he was at Top Golf like, this is a quarterback and his receiver. Right? And they usually do have that chemistry. They're always talking about stuff. And I know Brady does this with his guys. And that evening, there was like text like, hey, let's play some golf in the offseason because they're at the top golf and so I'm sure I mean, putting aside Tina and Max and her family who are grieving and I'm sure it's just terrible and what's happened to rugs and his family and how they're grieving for everything. But think about the plot. Here's, here's the Raiders team, Derek Carr, their quarterback, let's go back one step further. Their coach was fired a few months ago, for well, he had had some questionable emails that came out that were leaked. And he kind of blasted some people. He was a bit of a racist, oh, I just could do nothing but fire him, and rightfully so. And that's a horrible thing. So the team's like, wow, there goes our coach. And they try to move on with this interim coach, and now they lose one of their star receivers. I'm just saying in context, it means nothing. But at the same time, just for right now, my heart kind of goes out for anybody who has a friend or rugs is just like, devastated. Well, there's
a ripple effect. Totally. What is it the butterfly effect? I mean, there it is, right before our eyes, the butterfly effect you get you get to see all your actions have consequences that carry on?
Yeah, there's just everyone's grieving. Oh, my gosh, I can't believe that this happened. It was that you're drunk, you're inebriated. You're 22 years old, you're on top of the world, you're in a car that goes entirely too fast. And you just want to, you know, you have it a moment. But your moment has consequences. He pushed it too far. And it's tragic. But so here's what Nick Saban, the legendary Alabama coach, who I think has seven titles. Now, if I'm not mistaken, here's what he had to say.
He said, we're going to support him through it. But we also have a lot of compassion for the victims. And our thoughts and prayers are also with them. Yeah, it's a nice sentiment, because you can acknowledge that ruggs made a mistake, he made a critical error. Big time, right. And he's having to face the consequences. But it's not about slandering his character. Not right, he made a mistake, he will have to suffer the consequence. But it doesn't necessarily mean he's a horrible person, as you said, he made a grave error.
And I don't know how long have gone to jail for prison. You know, if he goes away for 1020 years? I don't know, right? He's 22. But his NFL career is most likely over. Hopefully, he can move on, and become an even better person. But honestly, so I want other athletes and anybody who has the means and is in these types of situations at a young age, maybe not with the best crew around you sometimes I don't know. I mean, here's, these are instant millionaires coming from all over the place, and they probably don't have the support team around them. I hope this can serve as a cautionary tale. Like I said in the beginning. Don't do this. This is not the right path. I also think if you're out at 330 in the morning on a weeknight, coaches always say good things don't happen.
Yes, I would agree with that. Yeah, it's unfortunate. So
I don't know what else to say. That really covers all I got that's all there is to it right now. There's no new information. I don't know what happened to his girlfriend. I don't know if they're still couple they have this young baby. I mean, here's a child who might not know their father, unless he's behind bars for so long. I mean, it's just the ripple effect continues. And at some point in time, hopefully there'll be closure and Henry rugs the third will grow as a person and his career path will go a different direction. Who knows?
And rest in peace, Tina and Max.
Absolutely. I encourage you to check out the GoFundMe to see the photo and maybe if you're in a giving mood you could give to the pet foundation that they recommend. Yep. So thank you so much for listening and please be sure to subscribe to that's a crime wherever you get your podcast. You can also really help us by giving the show a five star rating on Apple podcast.
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