Who doesn’t love high speed car chases? Admit it, when whatever daytime television program you’re watching is interrupted by local news reporting some criminal eluding authorities down the interstate, you don’t exactly look away. Crazy things always seem to happen on live television – and police chases are no exception. There’s an element of danger to high speed chases – which are almost always caught on video – that is uniquely fascinating: you know it’s going to end badly, it’s just question of how violent and destructive it’s going to get.
This list explores some of the craziest, most wild police pursuits caught on tape. From escaped mental patients, to magicians, to nudists, it turns out all sorts of people are the type to run from Johnny Law when in a pinch. Let’s take a look at some of the most unhinged and entertaining high speed chases.
O.J. And The White Bronco
In June of 1994, O.J. Simpson and his accomplice Al Cowlings led the Los Angeles Police Department on what is maybe the most famous car chase of all time. Simpson was planning to turn himself into authorities after being charged with the murder of his ex-wife, but he had a change of heart and decided to make a break for Mexico. As he and Cowlings fled in the now infamous white Ford Bronco, authorities were tipped off, and what followed was a chase across several LA freeways in a sensational event broadcast live all over the world.
Luckily, no one was hurt and the chase came to peaceful resolution at Simpsons’s home in Brentwood, CA, where he (reluctantly) turned himself into authorities.
BMW Eludes Police At 150 MPH
In February 1998, a Shawnee County, KS, teen led authorities on an insane high speed pursuit that regularly got up to speeds of 150 mph. The 15-year-old – who smoothly maneuvered in and out of oncoming traffic like a Formula One driver – barreled away from police officers in a 240 horsepower BMW. Officers in pursuit, however, also had high-speed vehicles – cruisers with Corvette engines, a fortuitous break – and were able to keep up with the teen as he dodged spike strips, and almost forced to squad cars into a head-on collision.
Unfortunately for this young thief, the engine on the stolen German vehicles eventually crapped out and authorities were able to make an arrest.
Teenage Car Thief Crashes Into Pond, Attempts To Swim Away
In 2001, a teenage car thief took off from an electronics store in Indianapolis, IN and led authorities on a high speed chase through a quiet, residential neighborhood. In an attempt to avoid spike strips, the young bandit loses control of the vehicle while careening at dangerous speeds, and after hitting a patch of green grass, the driver finds himself crashed into a retention pond.
Not willing to admit defeat and surrender, this driver attempts an even more slippery getaway and begins to swim away from police on the scene. Michael Phelps, he is not, however, and he is quickly apprehended.
A High Speed Chase Turned Into A Deadly Situation
Hong Il Kim took off in his Toyota 4-Runner on Valentine’s Day 1996, and began recklessly driving through Orange County, CA, cutting off motorists and running through red lights. When a suspicious police officer attempted to pull Kim over, he led authorities on a 30-mile high speed chase that soon drew the attention of local news cameras. Once Kim was finally cornered in a strip mall parking lot, he began revving his engine and ramming his car into police cruisers. He was greeted with a hale of bullets, which killed him on live television. The shooting went down as a controversial judgment call, and though Kim’s family brought a wrongful death suit against authorities, their claim was ultimately unsuccessful.
Man Downgrades Stolen Cars, Is Quickly Caught
In September 2011, a 23-year-old man took Queensland, Australia authorities on a wild ride when he stole a bright yellow Porsche and bolted down the M1. A fugitive thought to be connected to several burglaries, the young man had been doing well at outpacing the cops in his newly acquired sports car – until he hit a guardrail, screwed up one of his front tires, and had to change vehicles.
In a pinch, the car thief had to settle for the inferior Nissan Navara as his next ride. This modest Japanese vehicle’s lack of horsepower eventually led to the cops tracking him down, where he finally surrendered but not without a fight.