Pilot's-Eye View: How O.J. Simpson's Infamous Bronco Ride Was Caught on Tape
(Photo by Joseph Villarin/AP)
There is one detail all of us remember about June 17, 1994: the image of O.J. Simpson in that white Ford Bronco driving down the 405 Interstate, moving slower than a lot of people zoom around their residential neighborhoods. The cops didn't appear to be so much pursuing the Bronco as simply following it, and that low-speed pace just makes the picture of one of TV's most infamous drives all the more fixed in our brains. The person responsible for that indelible image: Bob Tur. (Now Zoey Tur. But more on that in a bit.)
Bob Tur was a helicopter pilot and reporter, a self-proclaimed adrenaline junkie who once used his piloting skills to rescue 54 people from a collapsed Redondo Beach hotel during a storm and on another occasion, used his helicopter to locate a man in the desert, just in time for that man to be flown back to Los Angeles for the kidney transplant that saved his life.
Tur and then-wife Marika launched the Los Angeles News Service in 1979, and a few years later were providing aerial news coverage to TV stations in Los Angeles. This was still the "infancy of modern electronic news gathering using helicopters," Tur says. The Turs, thanks to Bob's experience as a pilot and some jury-rigged modifications to their helicopter, saw the opportunity to go beyond traffic reports and provide dedicated news-gathering services using copters.
The Turs, in a case that would often be tied to the racial tensions that accompanied the O.J. Simpson trial a couple of years down the road, were responsible for filming the beating of truck driver Reginald Denny during the 1992 riots that followed the Rodney King verdict in Los Angeles. The Turs' video, broadcast live on TV, helped save Denny's life when viewers who were watching the assault rushed to the scene to help him, just after one of his attackers had hit him on the head with a cinderblock and fractured his skull in 91 places.
Still, with dozens of car chases and crime scene stories under the Turs' helicopter seat belts, what unfolded on the 405 on June 17, 1994, remains one of the strangest, most unforgettable collisions of news, crime, and celebrity in TV history. Zoey Tur — formerly known as Bob (again, more on that in a bit) — talked to Yahoo TV about capturing the slowest high-speed chase of her career.