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Las Vegas Raiders release Henry Ruggs III after fatal Las Vegas crash

The Las Vegas Raiders released wide receiver Henry Ruggs III just hours before he faced an initial court appearance on multiple felony charges after a car crash in the early hours of Tuesday morning that left a woman dead and Ruggs and his female passenger injured.

Ruggs, 22, will be charged with DUI leading to death after the Chevrolet Corvette he was driving slammed at high speed into the rear of a Toyota Rav4 on a busy thoroughfare in a residential area several miles west of the Las Vegas Strip at about 3.40am on Tuesday.

The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department said: “[R]esponding officers located the Toyota on fire. Fire department personnel responded and located a deceased victim inside the Toyota. The preliminary investigation indicates the front of the Chevrolet collided with the rear of the Toyota.”

Ruggs was hurt in the crash but police said his injuries did not appear to be life-threatening. “The driver of the Chevrolet, identified as 22-year-old Henry Rugs (sic) III, remained on scene and showed signs of impairment. He was transported to UMC hospital to be treated for non-life-threatening injuries. Ruggs will be charged with DUI resulting in death. This is an on-going investigation,” the department added in its statement.

The Raiders said in a statement that they were aware Ruggs had been involved in a crash. “We are devastated by the loss of life and our thoughts and prayers go out to the victim’s family. We are in the process of gathering information and will have no further comment at this time,” read the statement.

NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy issued a statement saying: “Our hearts go out to the family and friends of the victim of this horrific tragedy. We will continue to gather facts and monitor the matter under our policies, but our thoughts at this time are with those impacted by this devastating incident.”

Ruggs lost a close friend, Rod Scott, in a car crash in 2016. He often pays tribute to Scott by raising his fingers to the sky during games. The Raiders had a bye week on their schedule and did not play last weekend. Their next game is against the New York Giants on Sunday.

Ruggs was a college star at Alabama, where he was known for his blazing speed. The Raiders selected him in the first round of the 2020 NFL draft and he signed a fully guaranteed four-year contract worth $16.67m.

The Raiders have had a difficult year off the field. In January running back Josh Jacobs was arrested for DUI after a crash in the early hours following their final game of last season. Last month, their head coach Jon Gruden resigned after emails emerged in which he used racist, homophobic and misogynistic language.