O.J. Simpson chase

California Highway Patrol officers chase Al Cowlings, driving, and O.J. Simpson, hiding in the rear of a white Ford Bronco, on the 91 Freeway. (Al Schaben / Los Angeles Times / June 14, 1994)

They’ve thrown money out a window, spun doughnuts in the grass, and shaken off spike strips and PIT maneuvers only to be undone by wet cement. And in the end, they all ended up in the same place: jail.

As they say, it’s not the destination that matters so much as the journey.

So whether it’s with a stolen car, a white Ford Bronco or yes, even a tank, there’s no more hair-raising and mind-numbingly entertaining way to watch someone end up in cuffs than a good, old-fashioned Southern California police chase.

What follows is just a fraction of the police pursuits that kept us glued to TVs through the years. Consider it a GIF from L.A. Now to you.


OJ Simpson

As in football, O.J. Simpson will always have a spot in the car chase Hall of Fame. Maybe even the top spot.

You can’t think of a police pursuit without thinking of a white Bronco being chased by 20 LAPD squad cars as onlookers cheered and waved alongside the 405 Freeway.

In 1994, television networks and cable news channels aired two hours of nonstop coverage of the O.J. Simpson spectacle. 

The former football star led police on a two-hour chase across Southern California in his white Ford Bronco after he was charged with killing his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman.

As the slow-speed chase dragged on, people started amassing on overpasses to wave and witness Simpson drive into the history books.

It was, as one entertainment lawyer put it, “the day Los Angeles stopped.”


San Diego tank chase

Who could forget the tank in San Diego? In 1995, a man stole a 53-ton Army vehicle and plowed over power poles, fire hydrants and at least 40 cars before he crashed into a highway divider and was fatally shot by police. Authorities didn’t quite know how to approach the renegade M-60, The Times reported.

“Everyone here was standing around saying, ‘How many miles per gallon does a tank get?’ and ‘How do you stop a tank?’ ” one California Highway Patrol dispatcher said.


Bank robbery suspects

In a scene straight out of a movie, bank robbers threw money out a car window as they drove through the streets of South L.A. during an hourlong chase in September 2012. Crowds eager to scoop up the cash grew into a mob scene when the chase ended. It was not clear whether the suspected robbers were hurling the money out of their vehicle in an attempt to divert deputies or as a Robin Hood-like gesture.

"It's our neighborhood stimulus package!" said Diane Dorsey, who watched the bedlam unfold from her frontyard at Kansas and Vernon avenues.