FOX 11 Archives: O.J. Chase Sets Slow Speed Record

Do you remember where you were during the pursuit of O.J. Simpson in the white Ford Bronco? Perhaps you caught it live on TV or the radio, or you might have watched highlights of it on the news later on. Arguably it's the most famous vehicle chase in history. Probably it was the slowest. Although L.A. was less crowded 23 years ago, even then it was pretty hard to make speed during rush hour on the 405. Also, it wasn't as if Simpson's friend and the owner of the SUV, Al Cowlings, was trying to outrun the police. In fact, the cops were on the phone with them during the pursuit, trying to talk a distraught O.J. out of carrying out his threat to shoot himself.

The drama began early that afternoon. Simpson was expected to turn himself in to police for questioning in the fatal stabbings of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend, Ron Goldman, whose bodies were found in front of Nicole's West L.A. condo four days earlier. After O.J. failed to show up at the police station, the actor and football hero was declared a fugitive. Around five o'clock that afternoon attorney Robert Shapiro and Simpson's friend Robert Kardashian held a news conference in which Kardashian read a cryptic letter, presumably written by O.J., asking the public not to feel sorry for him. Within an hour, the CHP was tracking the Simpson Bronco, heading north from Orange County.

As more local and later, national media began covering the chase live, every channel became the “O.J. Channel,” and crowds of people gathered along the freeway and on overpasses to watch the spectacle. As the Bronco headed toward his Brentwood home, dozens of onlookers – some with hand-lettered signs of support – took up positions on Sunset Boulevard where it meets the freeway off-ramp. Our camera crew got a great ground level shot of the strange parade as it passed.

News choppers showed the big white Ford pulling into Simpson's driveway. There it sat as the sun went down. Within an hour police had O.J. in custody, and took him for a drive downtown. As the caravan of squad cars wove its way through Brentwood, cheering supporters lined both sides of the streets.  Our long national nightmare of non-stop O.J. Simpson coverage had begun.

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