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It's Been 30 Years Since OJ Simpson Led The LAPD On A Car Chase Down The 405

Photo: Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times (Getty Images)
Photo: Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times (Getty Images)

Everyone remembers where they were when OJ Simpson – in the back of a white Ford Bronco being driven by AC Cowlings – made his way down The 405 in a low-speed pursuit with the Los Angeles Police Department. I just happened to be about two years away from being born, but that’s neither here nor there.

Today marks thirty years since that infamous police chase that followed the brutal murders of Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman in the front yard of her Brentwood estate. The chase captivate the entire U.S. when it was happening. People knew about the murders and were suspicious of OJ, but riding down the interstate seemed as clear as an admission of guilt could be without actually saying “I did it.”

Here’s a little refresher of what happened that date 30 years ago, from Histroy:

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The bodies of Brown Simpson and Goldman were found outside her home in the exclusive Los Angeles neighborhood of Brentwood shortly after midnight on June 13, 1994. Bloodstains matching Simpson’s blood type were found at the crime scene, and the star had become the focus of the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) investigation by the morning of June 17. When police arrived to arrest Simpson at the home of his friend and lawyer, Robert Kardashian, they found that Simpson had slipped out the back door with his former college and Buffalo Bills teammate Al Cowlings. The two men had then driven off in Cowlings’ white Ford Bronco.

After a news conference—in which his lawyer, Robert Shapiro, announced that Simpson was distraught and might attempt suicide—the LAPD officially declared the former football star a fugitive. Around 7 p.m. PST, police located the white Bronco by tracing calls made from Simpson’s cellular phone. Simpson was reported to be in the back seat of the vehicle, holding a gun to his head. With news helicopters following the slow chase from above and cameras broadcasting the dramatic events live to millions of astonished viewers, vehicles from the LAPD and California Highway Patrol pursued the Bronco for about an hour as it traveled at some 35 miles per hour along I-405. Finally, after about an hour, the Bronco pulled into the driveway of Simpson’s Brentwood home. He emerged from the car close to 9 pm and was immediately arrested and booked on double murder charges.

The chase was such a big deal that NBC cut away from Game 5 of the NBA Finals between the Knicks and Rockets to cover the chase. As a Knicks fan, I blame this exact moment as to why being a Knicks fan is so miserable. If you’re an NBA fan, I’m sure you remember this happening.

Photo: Rick Maiman/Sygma (Getty Images)
Photo: Rick Maiman/Sygma (Getty Images)

To me, one of the most bizarre things about the OJ chase is the car itself – a white Ford Bronco. You see, this wasn’t OJ’s Bronco. It was Cowlings. This is made even more confusing because of the fact that Simpson himself had an identical white Bronco, and Cowlings just liked OJ’s so much that he bought the same one. That’s friendship right there.

Since the chase, Ford has never really been able to shake the OJ connection from the Bronco. Just a few years later – in 1996 – Ford killed off the Bronco altogether. Ironically, and I know this wasn’t a replacement for the Bronco, Ford introduced the Escape about six years after the chase. Yes, I know Arrested Development made a joke about this.

Even when Ford brought the Bronco back to life, it was still intrinsically connected to Simpson. We reported back in 2020 that Ford delayed the reveal of the all-new Bronco because it was initially scheduled for OJ’s birthday. And, earlier this year, the Bronco Sport just happened to be recalled on the same day OJ was.

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