Phew, he's run out of gas

TV: Fox News treats its viewers to three mind-numbing hours of a police chase around L.A.

August 20, 1999|By Kevin Cowherd | Kevin Cowherd,SUN STAFF

Maybe you watched it on TV yesterday afternoon: a blue Ford pickup rolling along a highway, a scruffy-looking guy behind the wheel, a placid dalmatian next to him.

Or maybe you have a life.

For nearly three hours, Fox News viewers nationwide were treated to coverage of a high-speed chase along Southern California highways, as police cruisers pursued a suspected drug dealer in a blue pickup.

At one point in the often-monotonous telecast, a Fox News "Alert!" graphic told viewers: "Man has dog in his truck."

At another, the helicopter camera zoomed in on a thermos in the back of the truck.

But mainly it was the same old shot: the blue pickup cruising along the highway, cruising and cruising and cruising, until you wondered if maybe it had reached St. Louis.

The chase, also broadcast live on at least three Los Angeles TV stations, ended in less-than-dramatic fashion when the pickup apparently ran out of gas and came to a stop in the carpool lane.

Facing a phalanx of police with their guns drawn, the driver got out, threw his hands in the air and peacefully surrendered.

The police holstered their weapons.

The dog was leashed and led away.

The thermos was left undisturbed.

The chase started after police attempted to pull over the pickup's driver and he refused to stop.

It then turned into a "narcotics-related case," police said, when the driver tossed out a bag containing amphetamines.

The chase did have several dramatic moments as the pickup careened through Orange County intersections. And it eclipsed O.J. Simpson's 1994 white Ford Bronco flight in terms of total TV coverage. That chase only got 2 1/2 hours.

Fox News executives in New York were unavailable for comment. A network spokesman said they were in meetings concerning the network's coverage of the earthquake in Turkey.

As of last night, there was no word on the fate of the thermos.

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