Police won’t charge fiancee in Henry’s death

Police will not charge the fiancee of late Cincinnati Bengals

receiver Chris Henry in connection with his death last month.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police announced Wednesday that there

was no evidence that Loleini Tonga drove recklessly or with

excessive speed last month when Henry came out of the back of her

pickup truck on a curvy, residential road and suffered fatal

injuries.

“The speed limit on Oakdale Road is 35 mph and the estimated

speed at the time of accident was between 19-23 mph,” police said

in a statement.

Police say Henry and Tonga were arguing at home owned by

Tonga’s family in northwest Charlotte on the morning of Dec. 16

when Tonga attempted to drive away. A witness said he saw a

shirtless Henry jump into the back of the truck.

A 911 caller said she saw Henry beating on the back window as

she drove behind the truck. About a minute later, another 911

caller said he saw an unresponsive man laying in the road.

Henry died a day later of blunt-force trauma to the head. He

was 26.

“Homicide detectives interviewed Ms. Tonga who was

cooperative throughout the duration of the investigation,” police

said. “Her statement was consistent with witness accounts. However,

there were no witnesses that actually saw how Mr. Henry came out of

the back of the truck.”

Tonga told ESPN this week that Henry jumped out of the back,

but was not trying to harm himself. She said she thinks Henry

thought he would land safely and may have been scared because he

saw someone calling the police.

Henry was away from the Bengals at the time of the incident

after being placed on season-ending injured reserve with a broken

forearm. Grief-stricken players and coaches attended Henry’s

funeral in Louisiana. Players have worn No. 15 stickers on their

helmets since and will play the New York Jets in the first round of

the playoffs on Saturday.

A talented player, Henry had struggled through a number of

mistakes away from the field. He was suspended five times and the

Bengals at one point released him after the 2007 season as he dealt

with an assault charge. But owner Mike Brown decided to give Henry

another chance and brought him back on a two-year deal before the

2008 season.

Henry and Tonga were raising three children. She said on her

MySpace page days before the incident that they had just paid for

their wedding rings.