Heartbroken family of Serbian refugee killed in fiery crash tell how they escaped war-torn Croatia

The heartbroken family of Las Vegas crash victim Tina Tintor have told DailyMail.com how they survived war in their native Croatia and came to the US as refugees – only for her to die when Las Vegas Raiders star Henry Ruggs III slammed into her car at 156mph.

Tina, 23, and her golden retriever Max burned alive in the early hours of Tuesday morning after a black corvette driven by Ruggs hit her Toyota RAV4 SUV.

Ruggs, 22, was double the legal alcohol limit when he hit insurance company worker Tina at 3.40am – sending her SUV spinning and leaving her trapped in the car and screaming in the seconds before it exploded.

A witness whose home overlooks the crash site told DailyMail.com she heard a loud bang and then saw the Toyota explode – with the flames ‘reaching as high as the palm trees’.

She added: ‘He [Ruggs] was using very bad language – he kept saying ‘f***, f***, f***’.

Tintor’s family have now spoken for the first time, with brother Djordje, 25, telling DailyMail.com that Tina spent her final evening with a friend before taking Max for a walk in a local dog park. He said she was on her way home when the crash happened.

Tina Tintor, 23, and her golden retriever Max burned alive Tuesday morning after Las Vegas Raiders star Henry Ruggs III slammed into her car

Tina Tintor, 23, and her golden retriever Max burned alive Tuesday morning after Las Vegas Raiders star Henry Ruggs III slammed into her car

Tina Tintor, 23, and her golden retriever Max burned alive Tuesday morning after Las Vegas Raiders star Henry Ruggs III slammed into her car

Cops said Ruggs was driving his Corvette at 156mph before colliding with the victim's Toyota RAV4 at 127mph at 3:40am on Tuesday in Las Vegas. The Toyota burst into flames and the driver and her dog died

Cops said Ruggs was driving his Corvette at 156mph before colliding with the victim's Toyota RAV4 at 127mph at 3:40am on Tuesday in Las Vegas. The Toyota burst into flames and the driver and her dog died

Cops said Ruggs was driving his Corvette at 156mph before colliding with the victim’s Toyota RAV4 at 127mph at 3:40am on Tuesday in Las Vegas. The Toyota burst into flames and the driver and her dog died

Tintor's family have now spoken for the first time, with her brother Djordje, 25, telling DailyMail.com that Tina spent her final evening with a friend. Her uncle Predrag Komazec, 37, told DailyMail.com how the family had survived being bombed during the Yugoslavian War and are originally from Croatia

Tintor's family have now spoken for the first time, with her brother Djordje, 25, telling DailyMail.com that Tina spent her final evening with a friend. Her uncle Predrag Komazec, 37, told DailyMail.com how the family had survived being bombed during the Yugoslavian War and are originally from Croatia

Tintor’s family have now spoken for the first time, with her brother Djordje, 25, telling DailyMail.com that Tina spent her final evening with a friend. Her uncle Predrag Komazec, 37, told DailyMail.com how the family had survived being bombed during the Yugoslavian War and are originally from Croatia

Djordje said: ‘Her and her friend went to the park over by my grandma’s house on Rainbow and Valley Springs – they have a little community park there.

‘Her friend lives across the street from my grandma. They were hanging there until around 12 and then they went across the street, she dropped her friend off and then went out to the park.

‘She was on the way home.’

Henry Ruggs III's blood-alcohol level was twice Nevada 's legal limit and he was traveling at 156mph in the moments leading up to the car crash

Henry Ruggs III's blood-alcohol level was twice Nevada 's legal limit and he was traveling at 156mph in the moments leading up to the car crash

Henry Ruggs III’s blood-alcohol level was twice Nevada ‘s legal limit and he was traveling at 156mph in the moments leading up to the car crash

Tina, who worked from home fielding calls for an insurance company, had dreamed of building a career computer science, her family said.

A Serbian refugee, she arrived in the US in 2001 as a three-year-old toddler, along with her brother and mother Biljana, 49, and was on the verge of gaining US citizenship.

Her uncle Predrag Komazec, 37, told DailyMail.com how the family had survived being bombed during the Yugoslavian War and are originally from the town of Bisačka – 20 miles outside the Croatian capital Zagreb. He said they fled to Serbia when Croatia became too dangerous but endured air raids while living there too.

Predrag said: ‘My sister came after all the war that was going on in former Yugoslavia – Bosnia, Croatia.

‘They came here and [the authorities] said randomly, you guys are going to Las Vegas so they said ‘OK’.

‘We escape all that over there – war and bombing. We come here and this happens. So much for the American Dream.’

He added: ‘We survived bombing and we escaped from Croatia to Serbia. We got bombed there and after that we came here to the US. Then this happens.’

Both said speeding is a huge problem on the stretch of Rainbow Boulevard where Tina was killed. 

A witness whose home overlooks the crash site told DailyMail.com she heard a loud bang and then saw the Toyota explode - with the flames 'reaching as high as the palm trees'

A witness whose home overlooks the crash site told DailyMail.com she heard a loud bang and then saw the Toyota explode - with the flames 'reaching as high as the palm trees'

A witness whose home overlooks the crash site told DailyMail.com she heard a loud bang and then saw the Toyota explode – with the flames ‘reaching as high as the palm trees’

A memorial with a photo of Tina and Max, stuffed animals and dog bones are seen in Las Vegas near the crash site

A memorial with a photo of Tina and Max, stuffed animals and dog bones are seen in Las Vegas near the crash site

A memorial with a photo of Tina and Max, stuffed animals and dog bones are seen in Las Vegas near the crash site  

Tian’s uncle said they fled to Serbia when Croatia became too dangerous but endured air raids while living there too. ‘We escape all that over there – war and bombing. We come here and this happens. So much for the American Dream,’ he said

Tina's brother and uncle said speeding is a huge problem on the stretch of Rainbow Boulevard where Tina was killed

Tina's brother and uncle said speeding is a huge problem on the stretch of Rainbow Boulevard where Tina was killed

Tina’s brother and uncle said speeding is a huge problem on the stretch of Rainbow Boulevard where Tina was killed

Djordje told DailyMail.com he had seen two cars blow through a red light by the crash site during a vigil the family held there on Wednesday night. 

He said: ‘I don’t know if you saw the candles and stuff down there. We were down there last night and I saw at least two cars run red lights speeding.

‘Just while being there for the vigil. I don’t know why they do it [speed]. They’re just not thinking about what can happen.’

Predrag added: ‘There is wrong way driving on the highways here. It’s crazy. I don’t know how many deadly accidents they have, especially after 12am. Wrong way driving. Who knows why – maybe alcohol, drugs.’

Mom Biljana was still too upset to speak when DailyMail.com visited the family home on Thursday morning but the family were given an update on the case by police who were seen leaving the $325,000 property around 10am.

In a statement issued later on Thursday, the family’s attorney, Farhan Naqvi, said: ‘Tina’s tragic loss has devastated her family beyound a grief they could ever comprehend.

‘Family was everything to Tina, and she was the light of her parents’ life. Tina live in Las Vegas since she was a baby. She loved her 3-year-old Golden Retriever, Max, who passed alongside her Tuesday morning.’  

Ruggs's Corvette is seen after the fiery car crash that left a 23-year-old Tina dead

Ruggs's Corvette is seen after the fiery car crash that left a 23-year-old Tina dead

Ruggs’s Corvette is seen after the fiery car crash that left a 23-year-old Tina dead  

Ruggs is currently confined to his $1.1m five-bedroom home which he purchased in April 2021 but appeared in court in Las Vegas on Wednesday where he was charged with one felony count of DUI resulting in death and one of reckless driving. He faces up to 46 years in jail if convicted.

The 22-year-old appeared wearing a foam neck brace and had a cut face due to injuries he sustained in the crash.

Ruggs, who was dropped by the Las Vegas Raiders on Wednesday, had spent Tuesday evening partying at a driving range inside the MGM Grand with girlfriend Rudy Washingdon.

Video posted on social media showed the footballer taking swings on the course hours before the crash, while a table holding several alcoholic drinks can be seen in the foreground.

Link hienalouca.com

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