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20 Years Later: The OJ Simpson Slow-Speed Chase

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

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    NEWSLETTERS

    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. Simpson had failed to surrender to police earlier in the day, when he was slated to be charged in the murders of his ex-wife and her male friend. As police closed down the freeways and 20 cruisers followed Simpson, spectators filled the freeway overpasses, many cheering him on with signs reading "Go O.J." (Published Wednesday, Jun 11, 2014)

    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.