A Dubuque man who initially pleaded not guilty to killing a Bellevue woman and her unborn child while allegedly driving while drunk in 2019 pleaded guilty last week to all charges in an official written document.
John E. Hoffman, 71, entered the pleas in the Iowa District Court of Dubuque County for charges of homicide by vehicle, nonconsensual termination of a human pregnancy and serious injury by vehicle.
His sentencing hearing is set for July 19.
The fatal accident of Hannah Ruggeberg happened in late 2019 when police said an intoxicated Hoffman was driving north in the wrong lane on U.S. 52 near Bradel Cove Road when he struck Ruggeberg’s vehicle Nov. 9.
Hoffman appeared for his hearing and entered the not guilty plea via closed-circuit TV from the Dubuque County Jail a few months after the crash and was released later on $250,000 cash bond. He also waived his right to a speedy trial.
Court documents stated that Hoffman’s blood alcohol content measured 0.135 percent two hours after the crash — well above the legal driving limit of 0.08 percent.
The initial trial was to take place March 27 of last year, but was delayed as a result of the pandemic. It was then supposed to take place July 7, but was delayed again, as the court was handling other cases that had opted for a speedy trial. Hoffman had waived his right to a speedy trial.