I watched the OJ chase from an airplane

KUSA - The greatest in-flight movie I ever watched on an airplane was a murder mystery. It was loaded with elements of drama, suspense, wealth, race, celebrity and sports. I watched it exactly 20 years ago Tuesday night. It began shortly after my United Airlines flight from Seattle departed on June 17, 1994, just before 6 p.m. and conveniently ended two hours later just before we landed in Los Angeles shortly after 8 p.m.

We didn't know it at the time, but that movie would forever be known as "The O.J. Chase."

Back in those days, I was living in Washington state but working as a weekend sports anchor at KCBS-TV in southern California. I would fly back and forth, usually spending only three days at a time in L.A., but for a full month, from mid-May until mid-June I was asked to fill in for our vacationing sports director, Jim Hill. My final night in the anchor chair during that long stretch was Sunday, June 12. I was so excited following the 11 o'clock news that evening that I asked the rest of our team to stick around and pose for a picture.

What we didn't realize at the time was that Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend, Ronald Goldman, were being brutally murdered just a few miles away from our Hollywood studios.

The following morning I was taking a cab to the airport when I noticed that I had left my briefcase at the TV station and asked the taxi driver to swing by the television station on Sunset Boulevard. When I ran into the sports office to grab my belongings, a news producer followed me in there and said "I thought you were back in Seattle with your wife and kid. Get the hell out of here if you ever want to see them again." When I inquired as to what he was talking about, the producer simply said "Call me from the airport as you're boarding the plane."

Considering the fact I had a 10-week-old son who I was anxious to spend time with, I followed the directions and dialed the producer from the aircraft. He told me "O.J. Simpson's wife's house is surrounded by police and helicopters. They think he killed her last night. If anybody sees you in the newsroom, they'll send you over there for another month."

Four nights later, on Friday, June 17, I was returning to Los Angeles when the gentleman sitting next to me said "Turn on CNN. This is pretty crazy."

(KUSA-TV © 2014 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)


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