A Lino Lakes man who served 15 years for drunken driving in Hawaii after killing three people in a 1997 crash has been charged again with drunken driving in Minnesota.
Lino Lakes police arrested James Joseph Hoffoss, 52, around 1:15 a.m. Saturday after he failed to signal a turn at Century Trail and Arabian Circle, according to the report. He repeatedly refused to take field sobriety tests, before eventually blowing a blood alcohol content of 0.18 percent — more than twice the legal limit of 0.08 — an hour after the arrest.
Hoffoss was charged Monday with two counts of third-degree DWI, a gross misdemeanor. He was released from the Anoka County jail Tuesday after posting a $12,000 bond.
According to the criminal complaint:
A friend and neighbor of Hoffoss called police after he sped down the block while “very intoxicated and distraught.” Officers located him leaving the nearby American Legion.
Hoffoss was stopped for a traffic violation, where police observed bloodshot eyes and the smell of alcohol wafting from the car. He denied having anything to drink and refused to submit to a Breathalyzer.
Hoffoss later agreed to the breath test after speaking with an attorney.
After his arrest, authorities learned that he had recently changed his name from James Steinseifer to James Hoffoss and had a history of alcohol abuse. In 1997, Hoffoss — then Steinseifer — pleaded guilty to manslaughter after driving drunk on a highway in Kapolei, Hawaii, where he crossed the centerline and struck an oncoming car. The crash killed sisters Nicole Nuuanu-Dudoit, 22, and Carina Nuuanu, 24, and their 1-year-old niece Laakea Nuuanu, according to a Honolulu Star-Bulletin report. His blood alcohol level was reported at 0.36 percent, the article said.
Prosecutors advocated for a life sentence, but the victims’ family told the court that 20 years was a sufficient punishment.
Hoffoss will appear in Anoka County District Court for the most recent charges on Nov. 15.