LAS VEGAS -- Attorneys for former Raiders wide receiver Henry Ruggs III are fighting to keep his medical records away from prosecutors charging him with driving under the influence in a fiery car crash that killed a woman earlier this month.
Already facing felony DUI resulting in death and reckless driving charges, Ruggs, who did not appear in person in court Wednesday, was also hit with additional felony DUI and reckless driving charges and a misdemeanor charge for possession of a firearm while intoxicated. The additional charges would mean additional prison time for Ruggs if convicted.
"The evidence supports a second felony DUI charge," Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson told reporters. "We believe that Mr. Ruggs' girlfriend [Kiara Je'nai Kilgo-Washington] was substantially injured, and under Nevada law, if one is substantially injured in a DUI collision as a result of the defendant's actions, we can file a second charge."
Asked how much time Ruggs could be facing if convicted on all five charges, Wolfson replied, "The bare minimum, actually, would be two years in prison, up to as much as somewhere in the 50-[years] range. These are nonprobationable offenses. So the felony DUI charges, if Mr. Ruggs is convicted, he can't get probation. He must get a prison sentence."
Ruggs, 22, is accused of driving 156 mph with a blood alcohol content twice the legal limit in Nevada when his 2020 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray slammed into the rear of Tina Tintor's 2013 Toyota RAV4, which burst into flames, at 3:40 a.m. Nov. 2. Tintor and her dog were both killed in the crash. The 23-year-old's funeral is scheduled for Thursday.
"I have been doing this for 40 years, and I can tell each and every one of you that I have had multiple experiences where the facts that were presented at the outset of the case turned out not to be the facts," Ruggs' attorney David Chesnoff said. "So that's why I keep saying, 'Please don't prejudge, let us do the work in the courtroom.' The state, the prosecutor will do theirs, and that's when the facts will be determined."
Chesnoff and legal partner Richard Schonfeld cited state privacy law as they tried to persuade the judge to temporarily block access to Ruggs' medical records, saying state law supersedes federal health records privacy requirements.
Attorney Peter Christensen obtained the same temporary block on behalf of Kilgo-Washington, who was a passenger in Ruggs' car and reportedly underwent surgery on an arm after the crash.
The judge set a Dec. 8 hearing to decide whether Ruggs' and/or Kilgo-Washington's medical records must be turned over to police and prosecutors, which would be the key to the additional felony charges Ruggs is facing. A Dec. 16 preliminary hearing of evidence was also set to determine whether Ruggs will face trial in state court.
Ruggs posted $150,000 bail last week and is under house arrest with strict conditions -- he is being monitored electronically; cannot drive or consume alcohol, including being tested four times per day for alcohol; and had to give up his passport -- as his criminal case proceeds.
Ruggs -- who was the first draft pick in the team's history after it relocated to Las Vegas, taken in the first round of the 2020 draft at No. 12 -- was released by the team less than 24 hours after the crash.
The Raiders also released Damon Arnette, who was drafted seven spots after Ruggs, on Monday after video surfaced on social media of the cornerback waving a gun and threatening to kill someone. Only three of the Raiders' seven picks from the 2020 draft remain on the team.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.