Former Raiders receiver Henry Ruggs will not escape responsibility for the drunk-driving death of Tina Tintor on a technicality.
Via ESPN.com, a judge ruled on Tuesday that police indeed had probable cause to seek a warrant authorizing the drawing of blood from Ruggs to determine his blood-alcohol concentration. The reading was 0.16 percent, twice the legal limit.
“There’s obvious time constraints in applying for a search warrant for a blood draw,” Justice of the Peace Ann Zimmerman said, via ESPN.com. “Under the totality of the circumstances, there is more than sufficient evidence for a finding of probable cause for the issuance of the search warrant in this case. . . . Nobody has mentioned so far that Mr. Ruggs was seriously injured in this accident and transported to the hospital, so he would have been unable to submit to field sobriety tests. Coupled with his refusal to answer questions, this does not result in a reward. . . . Motion to suppress is denied.”
Ruggs will have the ability to appeal that decision. Given the outcome in the case — the death of Tina Tintor in a fire caused by a crash that happened when Ruggs was driving his Corvette at 156 miles per hour — it’s hard to imagine anyone giving Ruggs a pass based on the question of whether police had a legitimate basis for suspecting that Ruggs was drunk.
As the saying goes, bad facts make bad law. This case has some very bad facts. It’s impossible to ignore them when otherwise trying to apply in objective and dispassionate fashion legal principles aimed at protecting Americans from unjustified incarceration. In this case, any outcome other than Ruggs facing the full weight of the justice system for his behavior feels unjust.