Looking Back: The OJ Simpson Chase That Captivated the Nation - NBC Bay Area
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Looking Back: The OJ Simpson Chase That Captivated the Nation

Fugitive Simpson led police on a nearly two-hour low-speed pursuit watched by 95 million people



    Archive: The O.J. Simpson Slow-Speed Chase

    On June 17, 1994, an apparently suicidal Orenthal "OJ" Simpson and his friend Al Cowlings led police on a 60-mile slow-speed car chase through Los Angeles and Orange Counties, captivating viewers glued to television sets. Conan Nolan reports for the NBC4 News on Friday, June 17, 1994. (Published Wednesday, June 12, 2019)

    About to be arrested on suspicion of murdering his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman, former football star O.J. Simpson fled his lawyer's San Fernando Valley home June 17, 1994 before police arrived.

    Simpson and his childhood friend and former teammate Al Cowlings were spotted by another motorist in Orange County just after 6 p.m.

    Cowlings was driving a white Ford Bronco while Simpson was in the back seat with a loaded .357 Magnum handgun, which he at one point held to his own head. When a sheriff’s deputy tried to pull over the car, Cowlings shouted to him that Simpson was threatening suicide.

    The deputy backed off but continued to follow the Bronco north on the 405 Freeway. Other patrol cars and police agencies joined, and the Bronco was followed at around 40 mph by about 20 cruisers for nearly two hours as it traversed Los Angeles-area freeways before arriving at Simpson’s Brentwood estate.

    Cowlings exited the the Bronco soon after, but Simpson remained in a standoff with LAPD for nearly an hour before surrendering. He was allowed to go into the house, call his hospitalized mother and have a drink before being taken into custody.

    The pursuit of the Heisman Trophy winner, wanted in connection with the grisly murder of his beautiful ex-wife and her attractive young actor friend kept the nation captivated.

    An estimated 95 million viewers watched the chase live on TV and hundreds lined overpasses and freeway shoulders, many waving and cheering Simpson as the Bronco went by.