Why They Run

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Season 1

This is a half hour MSNBC series that features interviews with the people behind some of the most famous chases in the US caught on video. Across the country, real-life high-speed police chases rivet viewers to the TV screen. Here the behind the scenes story of what happened by those involved. Why I Ran took this idea and did one better by featuring the story in the criminal's own words as they watch the recording for the first time.

Season 1 (2007)

# Description
101 Tank on a Rampage - San Diego, CA 5/18/95 - a man steals an M60 tank and goes on a rampage through town. Bob Tur was in the helicopter who flew over and knew they couldnít stop it. Det. Paul Paxton says he thought it was a joke at first. Bob could see what was in harmsí way from above. Paul says it was a small area, anyone couldíve been someone he knew. Mark Leimbach was a reporter in a truck, didnít know if there was a second guy behind the gun or not. He wouldíve backed off more. He got out when he hit the fire hydrant to film on foot. He dragged the lamp post and was leaving a path of destruction. When he hit the bridge he was driving and filming as cops were backing off and shaking their heads. Paul says inside the tank he was hitting himself every time he crashed. He had no helmet. When he went for the K rail he got stuck. Paul was looking for a way to stop it. Mark says they were looking for idea, how to get in and they asked the chopper if he saw a way in. Paul is the only one who knew how to open it, he didnít want the guy to know he was getting in, he might be grabbed. Then the tread flew off and he was dead. They got a bolt cutter to get it open. They were yelling at him to stop, put his hands up and he was trying to get away. A single shot killed him. He was coming for him and found out he was on meth. Sean Nelson (35) was unemployed and a former tank repairman. He was unarmed and depressed. Robert Tate was his friend, he was a tough guy spiraling out of control, he tried to get mineral rights to his property and couldnít. His wife suddenly wanted a divorce and he turned to drinking and meth. Thaddeus Meek says he didnít know who it was, when he found out it was his friend it was devastating. It was a tragic story, a guy under too much stress who terrorized the city. CA - a 1988 red Chevrolet Astra Van that is stolen takes off from a dozen cops. Bob Tur says they didnít know how many people were inside because of tinted windows. Were they armed? Three men including Ivan Ochoa (20) were inside. He was in a gang, was running and gunning, it was his lifestyle. They were at the house getting high, then decided to take the car. He was on meth, which ruins everything, you steal from your parents since you are chasing the dope. He just wanted to get away, not go to prison, was scared. They were doing lines in the van, they were going to get caught, so they just partied. Officer Alex Penrith says they always assume they are armed, until they know better. They tossed a gun hoping they wouldnít see it. He wasnít interested in stopping, so they werenít going to let him go. Ivan says they were trying to make them crash, it was scary, he was looking around for cops, looking which way to turn. Larry Hanson heard the sirens and it was on the radio. They went by and Diane Hanson turned on the TV. They went to PIT him and rammed him. The back of the van went on the curb, it was sliding and tripped because of the high center of gravity. Ivan says they hit so hard the wheel came off, they thought they were going to shoot them. They were cursing them to get out, they had 5 shotguns on him and he gave up. Bob says they were armed and dangerous gang members, no serious injuries, couldíve been bad. Charges on Ivan were dropped because he wasn't driving, but heís in prison now anyway. 10/16/07
102 Stolen Bus - Bob Tur was at home when he got the call of the stolen bus. The driver went for a job at a tour bus company, they said he wasnít qualified, so he stole the bus and showed him he could drive. Sgt. Mark Garrett says they arenít prepared for big rigs or buses, just small things, but the pursuit is the same. Sgt. Lynn Blum was there. If it has an accident it will take out several cars. He was lucky he didnít hit someone head on. They were going to make a stop and he kept going. When he hit the fence it was swinging around, but no one got really hurt, just minor accidents. They thought he would lose control, but he didnít. Bob says they were driving down his own street, of all streets to go down. Lynn was getting out grabbing the shotgun when it came back at them in reverse and they almost got crushed. Then it crashed into Mary Pringleís house, but she wasnít home. They ran out at him and it was like he wasnít there. He was totally emotionless. Felipe Atorragast-Ferrer says he knew he stole it, was rambling, afraid he was going to get caught and wouldnít stop until he was caught. He got 10 years and was out in 05. Now heís back in prison. Bob went to interview him. He says they werenít real police, they were undercover espionage people from Mexico. Soon after he got out. Katy, CA - John Howell (25) was spotted as a suspect in another crime. He denied it and cops came at him with a gun. He panicked and took off. He just saw L.A. Confidential and was paranoid. Aaron Hangata was with him. He saw him get nervous and knew he was along for the ride. He pulled over and let him out. He saw cops overhead with guns and knew it was bad. Alex Penrith says if people run they are hiding something else they donít know about. He says it was a beat up truck and they could see everything inside. Bob Tur says he wasnít paying attention to what was around him, he just kept looking forward. Aaron says they kept asking where he was going, he didnít know and John didnít know. He said France and they got mad. He was only going 50mph and they laid spikes down. He swerved to miss the spikes, but didnít want to hit the cops. After 2 hours he was in Palm Springs. He jumped over the hood and left. He was on the fence and he had a firm grip on him, but he fell over the fence. Aaron was watching it at the station with cops yelling go John. John talked to the guy in the yard and asked if I can borrow your car. He smiled, said no, better keep running. He slowed to a walk about another 100 feet, saw the other units, ran. It was the best football tackle they ever saw on asphalt. His hood came off and they saw his fire engine red hair. They all asked about the hair. He got 9 months. Aaron wasnít charged. He called for a ride and everyone was like yeah we know why, you preempted Oprah and he thought that was so cool. Steve Maiman (41) was flying a biplane and took a cruise downtown, itís like a Harley, going over town. Officer Jack Brandy says he was showing off, doing aerobatics. Bob Tur was there and the rules are no aerobatics over people, and keep 1000 feet from them. He was 300 feet above sea level and didnít realize he was under the limit. The police try to get hold of him on the radio and he didnít answer. It was like he was laying low, but in a biplane. They werenít able to keep up with him and turned it over to the tower. Steve looked backwards and saw he had company he didnít want. He went over the ocean and they were listening to the play by play. They were called in and he landed. He was spitting out white smoke. He says the wires shorted, he didnít mean to do it, couldnít stop it. Cops were there when he landed, stopped him, patted him down, asked him about drugs or weapons, just doing their job. Jack says they filed the paperwork. He was charged and fined $150 and suspended for 6 months. He really didnít know he was doing something wrong. 10/23/07

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