Vegas judge mulls evidence question in Ruggs fatal DUI case
LAS VEGAS (AP) — A Las Vegas judge plans to issue a ruling Thursday on whether to limit medical information that prosecutors receive about former Raiders receiver Henry Ruggs III following a fiery fatal crash, a court clerk said.
Ruggs didn’t have to appear in court Wednesday while his attorney, Richard Schonfeld, argued before Justice of the Peace Pro Tem Robert Walsh that although state law lets police and prosecutors obtain a report about his client’s blood-alcohol level following the early Nov. 2 crash, it doesn’t let a judge compel first-responders to testify about his physical condition.
Walsh expects to issue his ruling in the morning, court executive assistant Ryan Creel said.
Ruggs is due next week for a preliminary hearing of evidence alleging he was driving 156 mph (251 kph) with a blood-alcohol level of 0.16% — twice the legal limit in Nevada — before his Chevrolet Corvette slammed into the rear of Tina Tintor’s vehicle, which caught fire.
Tintor, 23, and her dog, Max, died as flames consumed her Toyota Rav4 SUV. Several of her family members sat with their attorney Wednesday in court but declined to comment.
Ruggs and his girlfriend, Kiara Je’nai Kilgo-Washington, were injured in the wreck.
Attorneys for Ruggs and Kilgo-Washington have declined to specify injuries to the couple.
Ruggs was seated in a wheelchair with a foam brace on his neck during his initial court appearance after the crash. His lower body was not visible behind a courtroom partition.
Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson said he believed Ruggs suffered a leg injury, and authorities said Kilgo-Washington underwent surgery for an arm injury.
Ruggs’ attorney, David Chesnoff, said during a Nov. 22 alcohol ban compliance hearing that a leg cast had been removed. Ruggs now uses an ankle-wrapped monitoring device.
Schonfeld and Chesnoff argue that Justice of the Peace Suzan Baucum issued an overbroad warrant giving police access to more evidence than simple blood-alcohol results derived from blood, breath and urine tests.
Kilgo-Washington’s attorney, Peter Christiansen, said he’ll appear in court Thursday to make a similar argument on her behalf.
Ruggs, a 22-year-old former first-round NFL draft pick from Alabama, would serve at least a mandatory two years in prison and could get more than 50 years if he’s found guilty of DUI causing death or substantial injury and felony reckless driving.
He was released by the Raiders hours after the crash and is on house arrest with strict conditions after posting $150,000 bail.
Ruggs had been emerging as a star wide receiver this season with 24 catches in seven games for a team-high 469 yards and two touchdowns.
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