November 28th, 2007: Press Release: Interactive Animated Documentary Released
Click here to view our animated "FLASH" documentary and tutorial
"The winner [of an air battle] may have been determined by the amount of time, energy, thought and training an individual has previously accomplished in an effort to increase his ability as a fighter pilot."
-- Randall "Duke" Cunningham
-- Ace Hoffman
Dear Web Site Visitor:
My name is "Ace." This is me:
This is the story of why somebody gave me that name, which I kept.
The day after Thanksgiving, November 25th, 2005, about 8:35 pm, Randall "Duke" Cunningham tried to commit suicide by smashing the car he was driving head-on at high speed into the one I was driving.Here is a video, captured by an Arizona speed enforcement camera, of what happens when things go wrong. This You-Tube video ends tragically when the three occupants of the speeding car all are killed. Nobody on the bus was seriously hurt. The accident is believed to be intentional. What is described at this web site is how to avoid a head-on collision with a suicidal driver. The bus driver has few choices because of the lack of any significant manuverability, but what is described here WORKS even when the speeding, crazed, suicidal driver is in the more nimble car. Learning this technique can save your life.
This is the full story -- about crooked cops, crooked elected officials, crooked lawyers, crooked reporters, crooked newspaper editors, and a crooked legal system. The story is considered "unbelievable" and "too juicy to be true" but it IS true -- every word of it. (Note: Not everyone mentioned on these pages is crooked, but a lot of them are.)
Full details of how I narrowly avoided "the Duke" -- and how the police have worked hard to cover up the incident ever since -- are presented in the documents at this web site.
I've decided to post all this material for four main reasons:
1) The public has a right to know about this incident. I believe it changed the course of history and continues to do so;
2) In a conversation with me less than two weeks after the incident, a reporter at the San Diego Union-Tribune (the paper which broke the original Cunningham bribery stories) described this event as absolutely juicy beyond belief -- front page and all that -- and then dropped it like a hot potato, saying their lawyers needed "proof" of some sort. They would not do ANY of the normal investigative work that might have forced the sheriff's department to act properly (because public scrutiny has that effect). I believe the real reason they dropped it was because they made the presumption that my only interest in pursuing the case was in order to use it to promote my own nuclear issues, rather than seeking justice. Such thinking satisfied THEIR OWN EXTREMELY PRO-NUCLEAR BIAS. In a conversation about eight months later with their "famous" commentator Logan Jenkins, he actually asked me about what I thought of people who would think that! Considering that no one has EVER made any such comment in public, that's exactly like asking "when did you stop beating your wife?" I told Mr. Jenkins that I thought such people were "pathetic" -- and that whether I (or anyone else) likes it or not, it was (and is) my DUTY AS A CITIZEN to discuss the even-greater-danger to the public represented by San Onofre (our local nuclear power facility). I strongly suspect Jenkins' editors at the San Diego Union-Tribune are "pathetic" people who don't know a thing about nuclear power that the nuclear industry hasn't told them, and have done NOTHING to protect the public from the extreme danger represented by that facility -- danger from earthquakes, tsunamis, aging equipment, foreign terrorists, and crazed pro-nukers who work at the facility and one day lose their head, like Cunningham did that night in San Marcos. Owning and writing for a newspaper carries an enormous responsibility to the public. They have abdicated those responsibilities for years and years.
3) I never got any justice anyway; and so this seems like the next best thing; and:
4) I believe the reason Attorney General Alberto Gonzales had to resign was, in the long (and hidden) run, because of this incident. And there is at least one more person who needs to resign: DICK CHENEY. Because of my research into nuclear power, I believe Mr. Cheney tried hard to prevent Cunningham's assault from becoming public knowledge, thus violating my civil rights. None of this has come out, but I believe it will, eventually. IF I keep pushing (and you, dear reader, can help!). So that's what I'm doing by publishing all this material -- pushing for truth, justice, and the American way.
Although many letters are shown, there were many more, but I think most of the important ones are presented here. We haven't been back to San Marcos except once a few weeks after the incident, but we believe they have re-aligned the road to help destroy evidence of the misdeeds under color of authority that occurred in San Marcos that night.
My car: A Honda Passport (note panel missing in RR where Cunningham collided with us); Cunningham's car: a Chevy Tracker (this photo is not the actual car, but is similar (one year later model):
Documents at this web site:
In 1996 I wrote to Congressman Brian Bilbray about the California Redwoods because he touted himself as an environmentalist. He responded by telling me to contact my own Congressman, who was Randy "Duke" Cunningham:
Letter from Congressman Brian Bilbray (October 16th, 1996)
Letter from Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham (October 22nd, 1996)
July 7th, 2005 - December 31st, 2005:
In the Summer of 2005 I sent a book about nuclear power to several dozen Congresspeople. Congresswoman Nita M Lowey responded much as Brian Bilbray had responded in 1996:
Letter from Congresswoman Nita M. Lowey (July 6th, 2005)
Letter from Congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham (August 4th, 2005)
I called the Congressman's office and tried to make an appointment to meet with him. At first I was told that would be no problem, and to call back the next day. But when I called back it was a whole different staff member and a whole different attitude. No appointment would be possible -- period. The news about his many crimes was just starting to break, but I hardly thought that soon I was going to play a part in the unfolding drama.
Some time during the beginning of Thanksgiving week of 2005, U.S. Attorney Carol Lam made a special arrangement with Cunningham. He would plead guilty to bribery -- and resign from Congress -- the following Monday (11/28/05). Apparently Cunningham decided instead to "end it all" and went out on a tear. He tried to flip his car in a solo accident but when that didn't work, he headed straight for the one I was driving. It was a "mano-a-mano" duel between his Chevy Tracker and my Honda Passport. Fortunately, I had seen the last of his attempts to flip his car by himself, so I understood immediately that the other driver was perfectly willing to spill blood on the road that night. Thus, when he came at me, I knew his intent was utterly serious and very, very deadly (several more detailed descriptions of what happened next appear below).
The short story is: The cops intended to pretend nothing had happened, and apparently were certain I would not be able to prove who the other driver was even if I did recognize him. When they made this decision, they could not have known I would have a part that could be traced back to the car he was driving, nor that I had in fact gotten a good glimpse of the other driver, and nor that I would be dogged in my determination to see this case resolved properly. All I got that night was a business card from the responding officer -- who took 45 minutes to show up, and this was undoubtedly only AFTER a "good Samaritan" who was unquestionably actually an FBI agent stopped by the scene of the crime where the witnesses, my wife, and I were standing around (at this point, most of the witnesses had finally left, but at least two were still in the area).
Business card from John Kelleher (his writing is in black at the bottom) given to me that night (November 25th, 2005) Front. Back
Over the weekend, after the accident, I got on the Internet and within an hour was able to figure out exactly what kind of car the assailant was driving. The next morning I contacted several car dealers, and soon was certain that the sticker (shown below) could be used to find the exact car. But then on Monday, I saw Cunningham on television and realized he could well be the other driver. It was a visceral feeling. The similarity of the face was too much. At first, though, I figured it couldn't possibly be him. As I said to my wife, "It's a good thing he has the world's most perfect alibi." She looked at me quizzically and asked what I meant, and what did he need an alibi for. She had not looked at the other driver -- but I had. "Because everyone knows he's in Washington, but he looks just like the guy that tried to kill us last Friday" I said. Her jaw dropped and she explained that he was NOT in Washington, but was here in San Diego! I hadn't realized he was resigning here, not there, or that he was home for the Thanksgiving weekend, like everyone else. And that was the last simple, straight-forward moment of my life.
First letter to Officer John Kelleher three days after the incident, after seeing Cunningham on television and recognizing him as the assailant (November 28th, 2005)
Sticker from wheel well liner recovered from Cunningham's car (November 25th, 2005)
Map showing the site of the attack
Picture of Cunningham in tears three days after trying to kill my wife and I (from a local news service)
Hoffman 1 -- Cunningham 0 (December 4th, 2005)
Letter to California Department of Motor Vehicles (December 5th, 2005)
When I realized that the cops were against me on this, and the reason was that the other driver was Cunningham, I contacted the paper which had broke the story about his other crimes. At first they seemed interested.
Cover letter for fax to Onell Soto, San Diego Union Tribune (December 6th, 2005)
Cover letter for second fax to Onell Soto (December 8th, 2005)
The above faxes contained documents which are also included above, including this image of Cunningham at approximately the angle I saw him when he passed by me at high speed on my right side, just before clipping the rear end of my car. After a few days it became apparent that the San Diego Union-Tribune didn't believe my story, or didn't care -- but Onell Soto told me it was that their lawyers needed "proof." AS IF one could get :"proof" without the cooperation of the police -- which is exactly what pressure from the press could have gotten!
Letters to Onell Soto (December 13th, 2005)
After Cunningham resigned, a friend suggested I run for the vacant office. I thought that was just too complicated under the circumstances, but probably should have done it. After all, the person who ended up winning the seat was none other than Brian Bilbray, who had referred my redwoods essay to Cunningham in 1996, and who at the time hardly lived in the district anyway. (The legality of his residency was questioned during the campaign, but he managed to stay in and win the election anyway, largely because the last thing the Republican Party wanted to do was give up this district, so they poured money -- as much as was necessary to insure a victory -- into his coffers.)
Letter to a friend who suggested I run for Cunningham's seat, describing the incident (December 14th ,2005)
I decided that it was hopeless to try to get real justice in this case -- and besides, Cunningham was reportedly cooperating with prosecutors, which warmed my heart. So I wrote him a letter, mainly to try to prevent the one thing that at the time I considered a very real possibility -- namely, that he would try again to commit suicide, and succeed the second time, since I wouldn't be there to foil it. If that happened, there wasn't any chance he'd ever confess to his crime against my wife and I. As long as he's alive, I like to think there's still a chance he will want to set the record straight.
First letter to attempted-murderer Randall "Duke" Cunningham (December 15th, 2005)
But I complained to California Attorney General Bill Lockyer about the police response the night of the attack:
Letter to California Attorney General Bill Lockyer (December 15th, 2005)
I also wrote to Cunningham's attorney, so there could be no question that I knew perfectly well what had happened. (Namely, I was being screwed by a corrupt system.)
Letter to Cunningham's attorney (December 15th, 2005)
I also sent a letter to my newsletter subscribers -- a few hundred people -- and the reporters on the list. (About a hundred reporters are on my list, but I don't know how many ever read the things. Some do, sometimes.)
How to outsmart a suicidal driver intent on having a head-on collision with you (December 22nd, 2005)
After calling the San Marcos Sheriff's Department trying to get a proper investigation started, I spoke on the phone to the responding officer again, who claimed, when I told him I thought it was Cunningham at the wheel of the other car, "what are the chances of that? One in a million?" I told him I still thought it was Cunningham. He told me he thought that if it really happened the way I said it did, I wouldn't have been able to avoid the other driver. I offered to take him out on a skidpad and show him how to avoid a suicidal driver exactly the way I did, but he declined. I followed up the phone call with a written statement:
Statement sent to Traffic Investigator John Kelleher (SDSD #2004) (December 30th 2005)
Letter to reporter (December 30th, 2005)
January 1st, 2006 - December 31st, 2006:
In early January my response from AG Bill Lockyer arrived. In December we had already visited my local (Carlsbad) police department, where we didn't need to get past the receptionist to realize that the San Marcos police were not behaving professionally in this case. At the time we still thought this could be straightened out properly, and no one would be fired or forced to quit over it. We now believe as many as sixty people have either been fired, shuffled to new positions, or forced to quit because of this incident. Not the outcome we expected or wanted, but perhaps we should have known how far this Administration would go to prevent justice for someone whose opinions they disagree with.
Letter from California Attorney General Bill Lockyer (January 3rd, 2006)
Letter about visiting the San Marcos Sheriff's Department (January 3rd, 2006)
Letter about visiting the San Marcos Sheriff's Department (again) (January 5th, 2006)
Letter to CA AG Bill Lockyer complaining about the local police inaction (January 10th, 2006)
Business card from one of the visits to the San Marcos Sheriff's Department (January 13th, 2006) Front. Back.
Judge Larry Burns was sent a psychiatric report by Saul J. Faernstein on Cunningham, which was made public and is available here. (February 13th, 2006)
Here is Judge Burns' sentencing memo and the defense response (both dated February 17th, 2006)
Letter to reporter re letter to Judge Larry Burns (February 28th, 2006)
We received a letter from Senator Dianne Feinstein in response to a complaint we had sent her, but it appeared to be just a form letter. (March 6th, 2006
Second letter to Cunningham -- aka "Federal Prison System Inmate 94405-198" (March 11th, 2006)
Letter to U. S. Attorney Carol C. Lam and staff (March 11th, 2006)
Letter to various (mainly elected) officials re Cunningham (March 23rd, 2006)
This letter included the following:
NUTS!!! (Description of the famous WWII comment -- this author's father took part in the relief of Bastogne)
Letter to North County Times and San Diego Union-Tribune editors (April 18th, 2006)
Letter to Tips Department New York Times (April 18th, 2006)
In June 2006 we wrote to County Supervisor Bill Horn. As it turned out -- and unknown to us (because we has stopped getting the local papers) -- shortly before we sent our letter to him, Horn himself was involved in a FATAL head-on collision -- the other driver apparently crossed the line accidentally, and was killed (Horn had the larger car). We can't help but believe this made it very difficult for him to ignore our letter, so that's what finally got a "real" investigation going. More real, anyway.
Letter to County Supervisor Bill Horn from Mrs. Hoffman (passenger) (June 5th, 2006)
Letter from County Supervisor Bill Horn (June 14th, 2006)
Letter from Undersheriff William D. Gore (June 14th, 2006)
A few days later, another fatal head-on collision occurred, this time in Boise, Idaho. It was widely reported all over the country, presumably because of some gruesome an unusual details. It prompted me to resend my original description of my own "near-death experience":
How to outsmart a suicidal driver intent on having a head-on collision with you (June 16th, 2006)
A friend who read the description wondered "what kind of ace" I was. So I told him:
The Last Ace (Letter to a friend, June 21st, 2006)
The San Diego Union-Tribune suddenly feigned interest (again), and had one of their star columnists call and talk to me for about an hour. Many of his questions were downright bizarre and incredibly disrespectful, but of course, his most absurd questions were always asked in a third-person sort of way, as if he, himself, would never think such a thing:
Letter to Logan Jenkins, San Diego Union Tribune (June 25th, 2006)
Letter about Logan Jenkins (June 27th, 2006)
Follow-up Letter to Logan Jenkins: "The truth is patriotic" (July 4th, 2006)
After numerous telephone follow-ups the Sheriff's Department, we eventually got an investigation of the original accident (although many months after the fact, and so a lot of crucial information was now missing) and an Internal Affairs investigation was also started (see below).
Two letters to San Diego Sheriff's Department Internal Affairs Investigator after interview (August 17th, 2006)
Final version of Poway Station Case 06045989 -- Summer 2006 investigation of incident (September 11th, 2006)
January 1st, 2007 - Current:
Letter to the Editor about the then-upcoming CLERB review (February 12th, 2007)
Follow-up letter to Mr. Parker after the CLERB hearing (February 19th, 2007)
Summary created for Mike "Bogey" Boguslawski (February 21st, 2007)
Letter to the Department of Justice's Inspector General about Cunningham, Lam, and the SMSD (March 15th, 2007)
Letter about Darrell Issa after he made disparaging comments about Carol Lam (March 28th, 2007)
This Charade Should Stop! (March 30th, 2007)
Letter from William Kemery, San Diego Sheriff's Internal Affairs Department (April 11th, 2007)
Letter to Sheriff William Kolender (April 19th, 2007)
Letter from Senator Barbara Boxer's Office (April 23rd, 2007)
Comment left at Washington Post web site (May 17th, 2007)
Letter about Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez (May 21st, 2007)
Letter to Eric Jose Vizcaino of Senator Barbara Boxer's Office (May 11th, 2007)
Left at Congressman Brian Bilbray's web site (June 9th, 2007)
What Congressman Ric Keller was probably talking about (Letter to Wm Safire) (June 17th, 2007)
In the matter of Hoffman vs. Cunningham (re: Pastoral Driving suggestions from the Vatican) (June 22nd, 2007)
Letter to San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis (July 5th, 2007)
Dick Cheney: Now it's YOUR turn to resign! (August 27th, 2007)
Letter to Seth Hettana (author of a book about Cunningham) (September 8th, 2007)
Logan Jenkins fights back (October 1st, 2007)
Letter posted to the Unofficial Cunningham Web Page (October 28th, 2007)
Speeding up towards a head-on driver (comment left at a Palm Beach (Florida) blog (November 5th, 2007)
Animation of incident released -- Press Release (November 28th, 2007)
November30th, 2007 -- As a result of the above press release, the author was contacted by a reporter from one of the local television news stations. The reporter and a cameraman interviewed me for about an hour, but the segment was canceled later that same day, reportedly for fear of a possible libel suit.
This case illustrates the complexities of handling the problem of preferred treatment by the police in a civilized fashion. What can be done when the police bend the rules and twist the odds? A few months after this incident, a friend's car was smashed on the street outside our apartment complex. Police came and knocked on his door at 3:30 in the morning to tell him he wouldn't be able to drive to work the next morning, and also told him they had the attacker in custody a few blocks away! Contrast this with the cold shoulder we got after Cunningham's attack. As far as we can tell, the difference was simply that in our case they were already giving preferential treatment to the attacker, simply because he was Congressman Randall "Duke" Cunningham.
The system is designed so that criminal negligence on the part of the police is very difficult, if not impossible, to uncover, and the citizen, regardless of the validity of their complaint, has little chance of a fair outcome once the police take sides against him. This case would have been easy to prosecute with proper police behavior and of course, is impossible without it.
Contact the driver of the car Mr. Cunningham tried to smash into:
"Ace Hoffman" <email@example.com>
First posted September, 2007; Last modified May, 2010
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