28 years later: The O.J. Simpson police chase

28 years ago, on a Friday like today, a police pursuit began that would captivate the nation.

OJ Simpson attempted to evade police and escape from a home in the San Fernando Valley. The walk sparked a two-hour slow-speed chase that crippled businesses and left West Hollywood’s Sunset Strip abandoned as residents rushed to the nearest TV to see Simpson’s every move recorded live.

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On June 17, 1994, two days after Simpson’s ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her boyfriend, Ron Goldman, were found murdered in their Brentwood home, Los Angeles police officers were looking for the former football star for first-degree murder. He was supposed to turn himself in at 11 a.m. that day.

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But as the hours ticked by, the Los Angeles Police Department grew impatient and made their way to the home where Simpson was staying. They found that Simpson had escaped – but he wasn’t alone. At his side was longtime friend and teammate Al Cowlings, who according to friends “followed OJ like his shadow”. The couple got into Cowling’s white Ford Bronco and drove south to Orange County.

The LAPD held a press conference just before 2 p.m. where it was officially announced that Simpson was a fugitive. Hours later, police traced phone calls made using Simpson’s phone and were able to locate the white Bronco.

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A massive police pursuit ensued over the next two hours. Twenty police vehicles gave chase as Simpson and Cowlings covered the 60-mile Orange County route and returned to Simpson’s home in Brentwood. TV news helicopters broadcast the entire spectacle, disrupting traffic from Disneyland to Los Angeles.

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Commuters stopped to cheer on Simpson, and some even held signs that read, “Go OJ!” At the same time, callers flooded radio stations asking Simpson to turn himself in.

The nation watched in disbelief as events unfolded.

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The pursuit eventually ended just before 8 p.m. outside Simpson’s Brentwood home, and negotiations began. Simpson entered the property, where police allowed him to call his mother and have a glass of orange juice. He was then taken into custody and eventually charged with two counts of first-degree murder.

Here is coverage from the Times archives of the infamous 1994 chase.

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-06-17/28-years-later-the-o-j-simpson-police-chase 28 years later: The O.J. Simpson police chase

Alley Einstein

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