A woman who lost her baby and her two older sisters in a car crash is speaking out after hearing that the man responsible for their deaths is in trouble again.
James Hoffoss was arrested in Minnesota Saturday, where he now lives, on suspicion of driving under the influence. Lino Lakes police pulled him over, noticed he had “bloodshot, watery eyes” and the “odor of an alcoholic beverage” coming from inside his vehicle.
In the report, a police officer wrote, “I asked him how much he had to drink and he advised me he had not had anything,” but Hoffoss stepped out of the vehicle and stumbled.
He was booked with a 0.18 blood alcohol level, more than twice the legal limit.
Back in 1997, he was living on Oahu and went by the name James Steinseifer.
Investigators said his blood-alcohol level was more than four times the legal limit when he crashed into a vehicle in Kapolei, killing Monique Nuuanu’s two sisters — Nicole Nuuanu-Dudoit and Carina Nuuanu, who were both in their 20s — and Nuuanu’s one-year-old daughter, Laakea.
He was arrested and eventually pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
Nuuanu learned of Hoffoss’ new run-in with the law while watching Wake Up 2day. She spoke to KHON2 by phone from Molokai and said hearing his name brought her back to the night she lost her loved ones forever.
“I just want to thank you guys for continuing to keep up with this. I never thought I would hear of James Steinseifer ever again,” Nuuanu said. “I was taken back to Jan. 7, 1997, just by seeing his picture.”
She says while the family has forgiven him, Hoffoss should be facing stiffer penalties after his recent arrest.
“This person was responsible for taking the life of my two older sisters and my first-born child, my daughter, who I only had for a year… I just thought he would have learned his lesson by then, but I’m just astounded by that,” Nuuanu said, adding that a stiffer penalty would prevent him from “taking away somebody else’s future, which I’m never going to have with my daughter.”
Peter Carlisle was the city prosecutor at the time.
“I sought a life sentence, and I thought he should serve a life sentence,” Carlisle said. “If he is doing this now, I suspect he has been doing it all along. That’s what my best guess is. It certainly isn’t a one-time incident to get up to twice the legal limit.”
Hoffoss received a 20-year sentence. He served 15 years, was paroled in 2012, and moved to Minnesota. The Hawaii Department of Public Safety says after three years on parole, he was granted early discharge last October.
“My only regret is that he didn’t spend the entire 20-year sentence or the life sentence that I asked for in prison where somebody this dangerous belongs,” Carlisle said.
The FOX affiliate in Minnesota tried to talk to him following the latest arrest, but he declined an interview.
The police department where Hoffoss was arrested tweeted about the incident: