VIA: Charlotte Observer
Police announced they won’t press charges against Chris Henry’s fiancee after the receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals came out of the back of a truck she was driving and died following a domestic dispute.
Loleini Tonga, 25, was driving the Ford F-150 after Henry jumped into the bed of the truck at her parents’ home, police said.
In a news release, investigators said there was no evidence Tonga was driving recklessly or going faster than the speed limit when Henry came out. They estimated the Ford F-150 was going between 19 mph and 23 mph on a curvy stretch of Oakdale Road.
The Mecklenburg Medical Examiner ruled that Henry’s death was accidental. The official cause of death was blunt force trauma to the head from a fall.
At issue since the death was what exactly caused Henry, 26, to come out of the back of the pickup. He was found unconscious in the middle of the northern Charlotte road.
Police said Tonga had been cooperative throughout the investigation. And they said her statement was consistent with witness accounts. But they said there were no witnesses who actually saw how Henry came out the back of the truck.
On Monday, Tonga told ESPN that Henry jumped out of the back of her truck instead of falling and that she wasn’t driving fast on the day he was fatally injured injured, according to the Associated Press.
She told the network she thinks Henry thought he would land safely and may have been scared because he saw someone calling the police. She said he didn’t jump with the intention of harming himself.
Henry, a Cincinnati Bengals receiver, was in Charlotte visiting Tonga, whose family lives here. The two, who have three children together, were planning their March wedding. He was on injured reserve with a broken arm in a cast and missed much of the NFL season.
Hours before the argument and Henry’s death, his fiancee posted happy wedding news on her MySpace page.
Tonga wrote that the couple bought rings, fitted 15 bridesmaids with dresses and hired a photographer. A post from 1 a.m. that Wednesday was titled “MRS..1…5*** canT get No betta.” Henry wore jersey No. 15.
Less than 12 hours later, witnesses describe an unhappy scene of the couple arguing in a pickup
Lee Hardy, 69, told the Observer on Dec. 17 he was trimming the upper branches of a pear tree on his property when he saw a yellow truck driving too fast down the gravel path by his house. The truck stopped beneath him, said Hardy, who recognized the driver as Tonga, whom he described as his friend and neighbor. She was arguing with a man standing in the back of the truck.
The man was pounding on the roof and asking Tonga to get out and talk to him, Hardy told the Observer. Hardy said he recalled the man saying: “If you take off, I will jump out of the truck and kill myself.”
Tonga refused and drove away, he said. He then heard what sounded like a car skidding on gravel. Then sirens.
As we previously reported, Tonga broke her silence about the incident to ESPN recently. Watch the clip below.
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