We’ve now had a chance to see the full interview of Loleina Tonga, the fiancee of Bengals receiver Chris Henry, who died after falling out of a truck that Tonga was driving last month.
Tonga spoke at length with John Barr of ESPN’s Outside the Lines, and she explained the situation in a soft, quiet voice.
But she seemed at times evasive and guarded during an interview conducted before authorities decided not to charge her with any crime.
She tried to suggest that she and Henry weren’t arguing about their wedding plans, or anything else. (Which, of course, makes no sense.) And while she insists he jumped from the truck, she explained that he was leaning around the side of the vehicle.
Tonga also said that she was interviewed by police immediately after the incident, that she made it to the hospital eight hours after the accident occurred, and that she was not permitted to see Henry — facts which suggest to us that, initially, she was suspected of intentionally ejecting him from the truck.
So while she has been cleared of any wrongdoing, the recent statement from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg police contains a key phrase that has a high degree of relevance to the question of whether criminal charges can stick: “[T]here were no witnesses that actually saw how Mr. Henry came out of the back of the truck.”
In other words, there was no evidence to contradict Tonga’s claim that he jumped, and thus there was no way to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that her driving might have caused him to fall out.
In the end, only Tonga knows the truth, and if the truth is anything other than what she claims it to be, she’s the one who’ll have to live with it.