The Story Behind The Now-Infamous Fox News Car Chase

By Alex Weprin Comment

It was a shocking moment of gruesome reality that does not typically play out on cable news. On September 28, 2012, a man carjacked a vehicle and led police in a wild chase.

Fox News Channel and anchor Shepard Smith covered it live, culminating with the man running into a field and shooting himself in the head, live on camera. Fox News would go on to profusely apologize for the moment, blaming “severe human error.”

Now, BuzzFeed’s Jessica Testa travels to Arizona to get the story on who that man, Jodon Romero, was, and what happened that day. Testa finds the man’s sister, Nature Romero, and discovers that she watched what happened, live on TV:

About an hour later, she turns on the TV, flipping through channels before landing on Fox. A man is fleeing police after stealing a car from a Denny’s. It happened less than a mile from Jodon’s house.

She waits a few minutes, then dials the non-emergency police line: “I have reason to believe that’s my brother.”

But I also reported on it. I wrote about Fox’s mistake, and uploaded a video of Fox’s mistake, and helped make Fox’s mistake go viral. How do you tell a grieving sister that? Because of a “severe human error,” thousands watched her brother die in real time, but because of you, hundreds of thousands watched it later?

You tell her the truth. And then you listen as she tells you about her brother — about all the details that weren’t on the news that day. About his personality (always laughing), his hobbies (remodeling his house), his five children (the oldest is 15, the youngest was born in March), and his funeral. (A formal church ceremony, then a more casual memorial. They played Tupac.)