Public Safety

Drunken boating incident leads to kidnapping charge for Coralville man

NORTH LIBERTY — A Coralville man faces a kidnapping charge after being reported for boating while drunk.

According to Iowa Department of Natural Resources criminal complaints, officers responded to the Mehaffey Boat ramp on the Iowa River around 3:40 p.m. Saturday, July 15, for a report of a man driving a boat while intoxicated. Callers also reported a woman on the boat was “scared and wanted off the boat.”

A water patrol officer stopped the boat operator, Mark W. Hoffman, 52, in the Mehaffey Boat ramp no wake zone, where Hoffman was going too fast and did not have a capacity number displayed, according to the DNR. Authorities said they spoke with Hoffman during a safety inspection of the boat and his speech was slurred.

The woman on the boat told officers she wanted to get off the boat and go home, authorities said. She told officers that she made Hoffman “several gin and tonics” and he kept spilling them. He also fell several times and nearly hit two other boats.

“She also stated she was scared for her life and was scared that he was going to hit another boat,” the complaints state.

Officers said Hoffman denied drinking and said he was diabetic. He was arrested and faces one count of third-degree kidnapping, a Class C felony; and one count of operating a motorboat while intoxicated, a serious misdemeanor.

l Comments: (319) 398-8238; lee.hermiston@thegazette.com

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