25 Years Later: What It Was Like in Front of the OJ Simpson Chase - NBC 6 South Florida
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25 Years Later: What It Was Like in Front of the OJ Simpson Chase

A quarter of a century later, the police chase of Simpson's Ford Bronco remains one of the most bizarre incidents ever to take place on an American freeway

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    25 Years Later, Conan Nolan Relives the OJ Simpson Chase

    Twenty-five years to the day, NBC4’s Conan Nolan relives his memories from the OJ Simpson chase, as he and a news photographer drove in front of Simpson’s Bronco with a cavalcade of police behind them. Conan Nolan reports for the NBC4 News at 4 p.m. on Monday, June 17, 2019. (Published Tuesday, June 18, 2019)

    Los Angeles newsman Mark Coogan, in his best rendition of famed sportscaster Howard Cosell, could not resist.

    "The Juice is on the loose!"

    But this wasn't a broken-tackle, open-field sprint to an end zone. We were at Parker Center, which at the time was the home of the Los Angeles Police Department.

    O.J. Simpson was a fugitive from justice.

    NBC News photographer Dana Roecker and I quickly received information that Simpson was in Orange County and had been visiting the gravesite of the woman he was accused of murdering.

    We decided to head that way.

    It wasn't long after punching up scanner traffic from the California Highway Patrol that we learned a pursuit was underway, and Simpson was headed in our direction.

    At that point, we got off the freeway and got back on in the opposite direction.  Roecker pulled the van over, took out his M-2 camera and sat in the passenger seat.

    I got behind the wheel.

    I have seen plenty of police pursuits in my career, but the sight in the driver's side mirror a minute later was something only an over-the-top Hollywood showrunner could conceive.

    A phalanx of black and white police units (12? maybe 20?) trailed a white Ford Bronco in the middle of Interstate 5, with lights on and sirens blaring.

    We pulled in front.

    The van we were in was unmarked, unassuming and incapable of transmitting live pictures for television. The only pictures Dana could take were through the van's rear-view mirrors, which is why driver A.C. Cowlings appears on the left. We kept our distance. We didn't want to interfere with the police or the story.

    25 Years Later: A Look Back at the O.J. Simpson Murder Trial

    [NATL-LA] 25 Years Later: A Look Back at the O.J. Simpson Murder Trial

    It was 25 years ago that Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman were viciously attacked and murdered outside her Brentwood condo. Reporter Conan Nolan covered the case in the ‘90s and is now taking a look back at what happened. Conan Nolan reports for the NBC4 News at 8 p.m. on Wednesday, June 12, 2019.

    (Published Friday, June 14, 2019)

    Then, there was Simpson's mental state. He was said to be suicidal. Our fear was that just the image of a television camera could set him over the edge.

    The video is three minutes of the 20 minutes where we led the pursuit. We eventually allowed the Ford Bronco to pass after two cars in front of ours collided while trying to get close. It was too dangerous.

    A quarter of a century later, the police chase of Simpson and the Ford Bronco remains one of the most bizarre incidents ever to take place on an American freeway. But as the families of Nicole Brown and Ronald Goldman remind us, this spectacle should never overshadow the brutality and heartache which provoked it.