TORONTO – Do you remember where you were 20 years ago today?
On June 17, 1994, 95 million people in North America tuned in to watch a white Ford Bronco, carrying American football legend O.J. Simpson, race (albeit slowly) down a Los Angeles freeway.
The now-infamous car chase captivated television viewers as up to 20 L.A. police cruisers followed the Bronco, driven by Simpson’s friend Al Cowlings.
Simpson was charged with the murder of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman.
On the day of the chase, Simpson was expected to turn himself in to the police, but he never showed.
Hours later, Simpson’s lawyer and friend Robert Kardashian read a letter from Simpson to the media. It read, “First, everyone understand. I had nothing to do with Nicole’s murder…I think of my life and feel I’ve done most of the right things. So why do I end up like this? I can’t go on.”
Many took the letter to be a suicide note, and when a police officer approached the Bronco, Cowlings said Simpson was in the back seat with a gun to his head – prompting police to back off but continue the chase at 56 kilometres per hour.
The 80-kilometre car chase ended at Simpson’s home, where eventually he surrendered to police.
Simpson was acquitted after a sensational televised trial. However, in 1997, a civil jury found him liable for their wrongful deaths and ordered him to pay $33 million in damages.