While movies have provided some of most memorable car chase scenes of all time (consider Bullitt, Ronin and The French Connection to name just three), real-life criminals have attempted their own tributes to the genre in dramatic fashion in recent years. Thanks to the proliferation of internet video and police and news footage, we now have a cache of classic real-life police chase scenes from which to view.
Of course, in recent years these sorts of chases have been called into question as they can often create more danger than simply letting the criminal flee.
In fact, some municipalities have a "no chase" rule in place to protect citizens. However, a 2007 Supreme Court case upheld that a "police officer's attempt to terminate a dangerous high-speed car chase that threatens the lives of innocent bystanders does not violate the Fourth Amendment, even when it places the fleeing motorist at risk of serious injury or death." It's still common practice for police to give chase while criminals believe they can escape. As these videos prove, even the fastest drivers eventually get caught.
These are some of the most notorious police car chase scenes ever caught on camera. Of course, don't try this at home.10. Is That A ... Limo?
Westchester County is one of the wealthier suburban counties in all of America (former President Bill Clinton lives there, in addition to the billionaire bankers who manage your mutual fund). It should come as no surprise, then, that when we learned of a police chase involving a limo, it was smack dab in the middle of Westchester.9. Orange County "Fake Out"
It seems that in these situations there's always an opportunity for the driver to just give up and let the police throw the cuffs on before things get out of control. Perhaps that's what the police thought they'd get when they tried to pull over the driver of this Scion xB in Orange County, Califonia a few years back. Instead, the driver delivered a series of "fake outs" to put some distance between her car and the cops. Do you think it worked? In a word: no.8. First-person Motorbike Chase
Something tells us this wasn't an accident: the rider of this sportbike came equipped with front- and rear-facing video cameras. Sport bikes are involved in some of the most dangerous chases because of higher speeds and the fact that riders can split lanes on the highway in order to get away. In fact, the majority of subjects in police chases who "get away" are riding a bike as opposed to driving a car.7. World's Fastest Minivan
The same way we thought a limo wouldn't account for much in the way of a good getaway vehicle, a minivan doesn't conjure up any visions of speed or thrill rides, either. But, once again it proves that the vehicle has little to do with the chase: it's generally the driver's (rather skewed) sense of what he or she can get away with. This Miami driver led police on a chase for almost 30 minutes before he met his match.6. That Must Be Lance Armstrong
Okay, first thing's first: this video is fake. But as perhaps the best spoof of the entire police chase genre, we felt compelled to include it here. The creator of the video had the wherewithal to even let the subject flee in the end.5. Watch Out
This video shows the reality of most police chases: they can (and often do) impact other drivers. The getaway car in this police video is a black pickup traveling at a high rate of speed through a Los Angeles suburb. A driver in a red sedan gets caught in the middle of the action, in the end an unknowing hero as his car is responsible for ultimately stopping the chase. The criminal doesn't stop there, though. He continues on foot before he's finally taken down.4. Police Can't Stop Him
Inside the mind of this Maryland driver was the undying belief that the police wouldn't stop him. In fact, he was right about that. After numerous attempts to catch the thief of this stolen car, he was eventually done in by a three-story light pole.3. Party Time
Downtown Los Angeles is the scene for this bizarre robbery and police chase. After numerous attempts by the police, including more than a few battle rams, the driver keeps going and even attempts to lower the mass in his vehicle by throwing items out of the window (we assume he was likely ditching evidence as well). In the end, he knows he's going to get caught, so he ends up taking a moment to ... celebrate? It appears that his final moments of freedom find a suitable soundtrack and he manages a few smooth moves on his way to incarceration.2. Junk In The Trunk
Nicholas Nunley distinguished himself for two reasons: not only did he attempt to outrun the police, he never gave up on his original dream of owning his own soda machine. This Tennessee police chase is perhaps the strangest we've ever seen. Nunley's run ended after about five miles, whereby we assume it would have been quite refreshing to have a nice cold one before heading off to jail.1. The Best Car Chase Video Of All Time
This is either the best cop chase scene caught on tape or the world's best advertisement for a Ford Mustang. Perhaps it's both. We believe the driver of this vehicle had watched a few police chase videos prior to making this run because he seems utterly unfazed by the "PIT" -- the standard police procedure for stopping a moving vehicle. PIT stands for Pursuit Immobilization Technique, usually dispatched by bumping the rear corner of a moving vehicle, causing it to spin out of control so the subject can be apprehended. As you'll see in this video, there wasn't much success with PITting this driver. As the TV newsperson says, he has "the lives of a cat."Bonus: The Ghost Driver
Readers tipped us off to this famous Garden City police chase that we couldn't help but share with you. Cops appeared to be hot on the trail of a thief and come close to catching him twice. Just when they seem to have him cornered in a fenced area, he...just...vanishes. Was the fence made of ether? Just like the cops in this video, we're stumped. Who was this ghostly driver?