License Plates


    In a discussion of Shively’s identification of Simpson and his car when she nearly collided with it at about 10:40 on the evening of June 12, 1994 at San Vicente and Bundy, you suggest that she might actually have seen Al Cowlings in his white Bronco instead of Simpson in his.  You have asked whether the license plate numbers on those two vehicles might have been similar enough to cause Jill some confusion.  With that idea in mind, you have asked what the license numbers on the two vehicles were.

     We have researched our archives of pictures and found a couple depicting the two vehicles.  We have also found text references to the license numbers.

    From news footage of the infamous “low speed chase” comes the first picture, of Cowlings driving his Bronco on the freeway in the midst of a crush of police cars.  The front plate can be read on this picture, and is further confirmed by a reference in Lange and Vannatter, page 161 in which the chase is described…  “The vehicle, belonging to Cowlings, bears license 3DHY503.”  [AC_PLATE.JPG]ac_plate.jpg (32282 bytes)

    Our second picture is from Court TV and shows Simpson’s Bronco near the Rockingham gate.   The back license plate can be seen, but the image is not sharp enough that the number could be made out if it were not know from other sources.  It is good enough, however, that an assertion can be confirmed.  That assertion is found in the search warrant affidavit shown on page 354 of Fuhrman’s book.  There it says, “Any and all garages or outbuildings associated to the residence [at 360 N. Rockingham], and the 1994 Ford Bronco, California license 3CWZ788.”  [OJ_BRONCO1.JPG]

      OJBronco1_small.jpg (5264 bytes)(Also, although our files are not exhaustive, this is the best picture we could find of the license plate on Simpson’s Bronco.  We looked at a dozen or more and reviewed several videotape news clips, and even this one -- shown as an exhibit in the trial -- is considerably after the fact.  The not-quite-legible quality shows how unlikely is the assertion sometimes made that Jill got Simpson’s license number by looking at television news of the investigation and seeing the license number of his Bronco there.  We have never seen contemporary TV news footage from which you could make out that number.)

     Finally, we have the license number that Shively reported to the police, as described by Jeff Toobin in his book on page 124…  “…Simpson peeled off on Bundy, but not before Shively had a chance to look at and remember the license plate of the white car: 3CZW788.”  Toobin got this from an interview with Jill, not from a picture of Simpson’s Bronco or a description of its plate.  Notice that it is different than Simpson’s true license number in a transposition of the “Z” and “W”, which conforms with what Jill told me years ago, that she remembered and reported to the police a number in which “two of the letters were transposed.” 

               So, we have the situation in which…

               * Jill reported that she saw: 3CZW788

               * Simpson’s license plate was: 3CWZ788

               * Cowling’s license plate was: 3DHY503.

     I don’t think that there can be the slightest doubt that Jill saw Simpson’s Bronco, not Cowling’s.

               Dick Wagner Van Nuys, CA      (10/03/02)                            plates.doc

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