Las Vegas Raiders’ Team Turmoil Continues with Ruggs Arrest

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Raiders WR Henry Ruggs III was arrested following a fatal car crash; the 22-year-old was in the midst of a breakout season.

On Tuesday, November 2nd, Raiders wide receiver Henry Ruggs III caused a car accident, killing a woman and her dog. Ruggs, who had a BAC twice that of the Nevada legal limit, was going 156 mph in his Corvette when he struck Tina O. Trintor in the back of her Rav-4. The car was soon engulfed in flames, leaving Trintor and her Golden Retriever, Max, dead. 

The accident happened at about 3:39 am near south Rainbow Boulevard and Spring Valley Parkway in Las Vegas, Nevada. In a video recorded by a bystander, Ruggs is seen sitting on the ground, just yards away from Trintor’s Rav-4 which was engulfed in flames, being comforted by his longtime girlfriend, Rudy Washington. Washington was also in the car when the accident happened, and it left her with a serious arm injury. 

With Washington’s injury and the death of Trintor, Ruggs was charged with reckless driving, driving under the influence resulting in death, and a second charge of driving under the influence causing substantial bodily injury. A few days after the incident, it was released that he is now also being charged for possession of a firearm while under the influence, after finding a loaded gun in the car. 

Ruggs was released on $150,000 bail on Wednesday the 3rd. While on bail, he must be confined to his home, he cannot drink nor drive, and he has to give up his passport. He’s facing up to 46 years in prison for all charges, and is scheduled to appear in court for a status hearing Wednesday, November 10. Along with all of these restrictions, he has also been released from the Las Vegas Raiders. The Raiders didn’t think twice about the release, as it happened only hours after the accident. 

The Raiders head coach, Rich Bisaccia said, “We want to express our sincere condolences to the victim’s family. A person lost their life yesterday morning and we think it’s important to keep focus on that when we talk about this tragic event. We’re deeply saddened for everyone affected, especially the victim’s family. That being said, we love Henry Ruggs and want him to know that. His terrible lapse of judgement of the most horrific kind, it’s something that he’ll have to live with for the rest of his life. The gravity of the situation is not lost on anyone here and we understand and respect the loss of life,” in a public statement the day after the accident. 

About an hour after Bisaccia’s statement, Raiders quarterback, Derek Carr, also made a statement. He expressed his sentiments toward Trintor’s friends and family, while also explaining how the loss of his teammate affected him emotionally. After explaining his emotions when walking past Ruggs’ locker, Carr explained why he would miss him, “Not because he’s fast, not because of what he could do for me, but because of the person that he is and because I love him.” 

Several other huge NFL names made public statements about this tragedy. Philadelphia Eagles WR DeVonta Smith, a good friend of Ruggs and his former college roommate, explained how he played with “a bigger purpose” in his game against the Los Angeles Chargers. He said, “Just going out there, playing for my brother, knowing he can’t play right now,” in reference to how hard it was playing in the game after finding out such devastating news. Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts also made a statement, saying, “It’s tough for all of us to experience what we experienced this week, how tragic of a situation it was. But we’re all warriors and we all see it through” He followed this statement by praising Smith’s game Sunday afternoon. Smith also mentioned that he spoke to Ruggs, and given his situation, he’s still in “high spirits”. 

Although the accident occurred during the Raiders bye-week, they came back the week after and didn’t perform their best, with a final score of 16-23. Carr made a statement, however, saying that the lack or performance wasn’t due to emotions, but miscues instead. He later stated, “You go out there and you have a rough day, turning the ball over, it’s … I’m not going to change. I’m going to try to learn from those mistakes.” 

The Raiders are leading the league in upsetting news from players and coaches. So far this year, they have let go of head coach Jon Gruden, Ruggs, and most recently, CB Damon Arnette. He was released due to the surfacing of a video of him threatening someone with a gun. These have all been significant losses to the team, but they suffer even more from the loss of teammates due to irresponsible decisions. 

With all of this, the Raiders also just signed WR DeSean Jackson as confirmed on Monday. General Manager Mike Mayock, said, “He signed his contract a little while ago. He’s a Raider. He’s kind of a Bay Area kid who went to Cal. He told us … in our Zoom call the other day he looked pretty good in the silver and black,” in a conference call earlier this week.

There are still high hopes for the Raiders with nine weeks left in the regular season. Their current record is 5-3 and they hope to start a winning streak this Sunday in the game against the Kansas City Chiefs. With hope, a little practice, and prayer, the Raiders will be able to overcome this adversity and make it to the playoffs.