POCATELLO – Idaho State University assistant football coach Steve Fifita was arrested on charges of misdemeanor driving under the influence and misdemeanor open container of alcohol last week, Chubbuck police Capt. Bill Guiberson confirmed to the Journal.
If convicted of both charges, Fifita faces a maximum sentence of two years in jail, a $2,000 fine and a 90-day driver’s license suspension. Fifita declined to comment on the charges he is facing.
Fifita has been placed on indefinite paid administrative leave from his job as Idaho State’s defensive line coach, ISU officials said. Fifita has been the Bengals’ defensive line coach since coming to ISU in 2012.
The charges against Fifita stem from an incident in which Guiberson said Chubbuck police were called to a restaurant drive-thru on Yellowstone Avenue in Chubbuck around 10:35 p.m. on July 28 in response to employees of the restaurant expressing concern over Fifita’s ability to operate his vehicle.
Officers conducted their investigation and booked Fifita for DUI and open container, Guiberson said. Court records indicate Fifita’s blood alcohol content was more than twice the legal limit.
According to court records, Fifita posted two bonds totaling $800 as a result of the charges and was released from the Bannock County jail on Saturday. Fifita is scheduled to appear in court Aug. 9 for a bond arraignment.
Idaho State athletics officials did not comment on whether Fifita will return to his job on the football team or who will fulfill his duties while he is on paid leave. Fifita’s annual salary is $42,000.
The Bengals begin fall camp Friday at 7 p.m. Fifita has no prior criminal violations in Idaho, according to court records.
Fifita was a two-time first-team all-Mountain West Conference selection as a defensive tackle for the University of Utah. He earned Fiesta Bowl Defensive Player of the Game honors in 2005, after the Utes beat Pittsburgh 35-7 to cap an undefeated season. Fifita signed free agent contracts with the NFL’s Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots, but did not make either team’s regular-season roster.