On this day in 1975, the murderous rampage of one of America's worst-ever serial killers came to a temporary pause:
Ted Bundy's mugshot
Crime Library gives the details of the chase:
On August 16, 1975, Sergeant Bob Hayward was patrolling an area just outside of Salt Lake County when he spotted a suspicious tan VW bug driving past him. He knew the neighborhood well and almost all the residents that lived there and he couldn't remember seeing the tan VW there before. When he put on his lights to get a better view of the VW's license plate, the driver of the bug turned off his lights and began speeding away.
Many a victim's final ride
Immediately, Sergeant Hayward began to chase the vehicle. The car sped through two stop signs before it eventually pulled over into a nearby gas station. Hayward pulled up behind the reckless driver and watched as the occupant got out of his car and approached the police car. Hayward asked the young man for his registration and license, which was issued to Theodore Robert Bundy. Just then, two other troopers pulled up behind the tan VW. Hayward noticed that the passenger seat in Bundy's car was missing. With mounting suspicion and Bundy's permission, the three officers inspected the VW. The officers found a crowbar, ski mask, rope, handcuffs, wire and an ice pick. Bundy was immediately placed under arrest for suspicion of burglary.
Soon after Bundy's arrest, police began to find connections between him and the man who attacked Carol DaRonch. The handcuffs that were found in Bundy's car were the same make and brand that her attacker had used and the car he drove was similar to the one she had described. Furthermore, the crowbar found in Bundy's car was similar to the weapon that had been used to threaten Carol earlier that November. They also suspected that Bundy was the man responsible for the kidnapping of Melissa Smith, Laura Aime and Debby Kent.
On October 2nd, 1975, Carol DaRonch along with the director of the Viewmont High School play and a friend of Debby Kent were asked to attend a line-up of seven men, one of whom was Bundy, at a Utah police station. Investigators were not surprised when Carol picked Ted from the line-up as the man who had attacked her.
Sadly, Ted's jailers would give the young and charming killer way too much leniency in the big house; Bundy briefly escaped on June 7, 1977, but recaptured a short while later. On Dec. 30, 1977, he escaped more successfully and wouldn't be caught until February 15, 1978. In that time, he made it from Colorado to Florida and assumed a new name. He also sat in classes at Florida State before raping and killing some sorority girls on the night of Jan. 14. Despite the identical methodology of the killings, and the fact that Bundy had been on the run for two weeks, no connection was made, prompting this front-page story on the day my brother was born (Jan. 16, 1978):
The Daily Advertiser, Jan. 16, 1978
Bundy would go on to be executed on January 24, 1989, much to the glee of those who are into that sort of thing. Speaking of death-penalty enthusiasts, a certain man some call president bears a striking resemblance to the serial killer:
Bush N Bundy
Oh yeah, and Elvis died on this day in 1977...