The Times podcast: Car chases are deadly. We love them anyway

Police cars surround a crashed SUV on the freeway
An SUV carrying a casket that was stolen from a Pasadena church parking lot crashed on the 110 Freeway during a police pursuit.
(Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times)

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Whether by horse, on foot, or in a car, Americans have loved watching lawmen chase bad guys for ages, going all the way back to colonial times. In this era of social media and livestreaming, high-speed car pursuits are as popular as ever and now are broadcast everywhere.


Today, we’ll talk to University of South Carolina criminology professor Geoffrey Alpert, who studies car chases, and to Zoey Tur, a pioneering TV news helicopter pilot who was one of the first people to ever cover them in Los Angeles, the undisputed capital of car chases. We’ll also hear from our senior producer Steven A. Cuevas. All three guests disapprove of our host Gustavo Arellano’s car-chase obsession and will try to break him of his habit. Can they succeed?

Host: Gustavo Arellano

Guests: Helicopter news pilot Zoey Tur, University of South Carolina criminology professor Geoffrey Alpert, and The Times’ senior producer Steven A. Cuevas

More reading:

Are Los Angeles police chases worth the risk to bystanders? Last year saw record injuries

Police pursuits cause unnecessary deaths and injuries, L.A. County grand jury says

10 crazy Southern California police car chases


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About The Times

“The Times” is made by columnist Gustavo Arellano, producer Shannon Lin, senior producers Steven Cuevas and Denise Guerra, executive producer Abbie Fentress Swanson and editor Julia Turner. Our engineer is Mario Diaz. Our intern is Ashlea Brown. Our theme song was composed by Andrew Eapen.