The Aftermath of Henry Ruggs' Crash Has Ruined Witness

Tony Rodriguez, who tried to save Tina Tintor, speaks to 'Sports Illustrated'
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 30, 2022 12:36 PM CDT
The Aftermath of Henry Ruggs' Crash Has Ruined Witness
Former Las Vegas Raiders wide receiver Henry Ruggs arrives in court for his hearing at the Regional Justice Center in Las Vegas on Nov. 22, 2021.   (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal via AP, Pool, File)

(Newser) – "People have told me I'm a hero. I'm not a hero. I'm not even close to a hero. A hero saves that woman. I didn't." That he didn't has haunted Tony Rodriguez since Nov. 2, 2021—the morning on which Henry Ruggs III, then a 22-year-old wide receiver for the Raiders, hit Tina Tintor's car at 127mph while allegedly drunk. Rodriguez and a friend came upon the Las Vegas scene, and as he tells Jeff Pearlman for Sports Illustrated, they rushed to Tintor's RAV4, which had been propelled forward 600 feet and was on fire. Finding the windows closed and the doors locked, Rodriguez's friend retrieved a hammer from the truck the men were in; Rodriguez broke the driver's window and managed to grab Tintor's arm.

He was able to pierce the airbag with the hammer as well, but he couldn't get Tintor's seatbelt undone. "You have to help me! You have to!" he recalled yelling. He tried to force the door open. "The heat became insufferable. Rodriguez knew it was time to leave," writes Pearlman. That's what he was ultimately forced to do. By the time emergency responders arrived, "the car was barely visible," and Rodriguez noted Tintor's blood on his hands. He washed it off and, uncharacteristically, prayed: "Please, God, get me through this. Please, God." As Pearlman writes, Rodriguez hasn't really gotten through it—despite being tougher than most (he once had a job retrieving dead bodies for morgues and mortuaries). He keeps revisiting the experience and what he could have done differently. (Read the full piece, which shares more of Rodriguez's "troubled journey.")

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