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Henry Ruggs ordered to appear in court over missed alcohol test

Updated November 17, 2021 - 3:15 pm

A Las Vegas judge ordered Henry Ruggs to appear in court in person next week after she said the former Raiders’ wide receiver missed an alcohol test while on house arrest.

“He’s been dutiful, completely dutiful,” defense attorney David Chesnoff told Justice of the Peace Suzan Baucum during a hearing Wednesday, adding that Ruggs “self-tested” shortly after the missed test.

“It doesn’t matter. He still missed it, so I would like to see your client,” Baucum said.

Ruggs, who faces DUI charges following the Nov. 2 crash that left 23-year-old Tina Tintor dead, has been out of custody and under house arrest since posting bail shortly after his first court appearance. Under the conditions of his release, court records show, he is prohibited from driving and consuming alcohol or drugs and is required to undergo alcohol testing four times a day.

A hand-held monitor was approved for Ruggs after a judge determined he could not wear a Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitoring, or SCRAM, bracelet due to his injuries, court records show. SCRAM records when Ruggs is tested.

Baucum ordered Ruggs to appear in court in person on Monday due to the missed test. Ruggs’ defense attorneys declined to comment after the hearing.

According to court minutes, Ruggs failed to take his remote breath test at 4:41 p.m. on Saturday but took a “client initiated” remote test at 6:28 that evening.

“SCRAM spoke to Mr. Ruggs via his attorney who informed them of an updated phone number, which is used for text notifications for his Remote Breath test,” the records state.

Defense request considered

Wednesday morning’s hearing was scheduled after defense attorneys last week filed a request to subpoena Clark County Fire Department communications related to the deadly crash, including text messages, video footage, photographs, log reports and recordings of dispatch calls.

In the court documents, defense attorneys said they have a witness who alleges that firefighters failed to quickly put out the fire in Tintor’s RAV4.

The witness indicated that firefighters “did not attempt to extinguish the fire at Ms. Tintor’s vehicle for approximately 20 minutes, at which time the entire vehicle was engulfed in flames,” the lawyers wrote.

Baucum on Wednesday declined to issue the subpoena, but she said the defense attorneys could issue their own subpoenas for the public records. Prosecutor Eric Bauman indicated that the Fire Department should comply with the defense request.

Tintor’s Toyota burst into flames after Ruggs, who prosecutors said was driving 156 mph seconds before the crash, slammed into the back of her car in a residential area near Rainbow Boulevard and Spring Valley Parkway.

Ruggs’ blood alcohol level measured 0.16 percent after the crash, prosecutors have said. That is twice the legal limit for Nevada drivers. He was released by the Raiders less than 24 hours after the crash.

According to the court documents filed last week, the defense witness, who was not identified, told attorneys that he was home nearby when he heard the collision and went outside to the crash scene.

Firefighters were at the scene when the witness arrived, and the fire in Tintor’s vehicle was “limited to one exterior area,” according to the defense papers.

Clark County spokesman Erik Pappa has defended the firefighters’ actions at the scene.

‘No delays in response’

“There were no delays in response or in the attack on the fire,” he told the Las Vegas Review-Journal last week. “The captain on the scene reported that the vehicle was fully involved in fire upon arrival and the passenger compartment was not survivable for anyone inside.”

Pappa said there was a “continuous rekindle” in one area of the car, which continuously reignited. Pappa said that was “not unusual in vehicle fires.”

Ruggs has been charged with felony counts of DUI resulting in death, DUI resulting in substantial bodily harm, and two counts of reckless driving resulting in death or substantial bodily harm in connection with Tintor’s death and injuries his longtime girlfriend, Rudy Washington, suffered in the crash.

He also has been charged with a misdemeanor count of possession of a firearm while under the influence, court records show. Authorities have said a loaded weapon was found in his Chevrolet Corvette Stingray after the crash.

He faces up to 40 years behind bars if convicted of the DUI counts.

Defense attorneys this week also filed court documents arguing that turning over Ruggs’ medical records and allowing health care professionals to testify about Ruggs’ treatment following the crash violates doctor-patient privilege.

A hearing regarding the medical records is scheduled for Dec. 8.

Contact Katelyn Newberg at knewberg@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0240. Follow @k_newberg on Twitter.

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