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More than a year after a police chase ended with a Paramount man shot dead, public road safety reminders are still being heard.

The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) intercepted Juan Manuel Avilla, 20, for questioning about a stolen 2000 Honda Accord he was suspected of driving in Long Beach on April 25, 2017.

Instead of pulling over, Avilla drove off and forced police to pursue him for more than half-an-hour on freeways, highways, arterial roads, and suburban streets across the Orange County and southern parts of Los Angeles.

Video footage shows Avilla repeatedly travelling over the speed limit at up to 90 mph, driving through red lights and into oncoming traffic, and ignoring four-way stop signs. Other motorists who saw Avilla responded by moving to the slow lane and reducing their speed to allow the Honda and pursuing police cars to pass.

The police chase ended with Avilla being shot dead as his vehicle reached a dead-end in Bellflower and began moving back towards police. His passenger David Anthony Luera, 20, survived without injury and was sent to Long Beach Jail for possessing a firearm and stolen vehicle. He was held on bail.

On the LAPD website, aggressive driving is described as “exceeding the posted speed limit or driving too fast for conditions, failing to leave a safe distance between vehicles, failing to signal intent, and failing to leave sufficient clearance between vehicles when changing lanes, or failing to signal intent using an emergency lane to pass or passing on the shoulder.”

When motorists face such erratic driving behavior, police recommend steering clear of the driver by giving plenty of room, avoiding eye contact, phoning the police if the other driver tries to start a fight, and driving to a crowded place like a shopping mall or hospital instead of going home and revealing your address.

“Change your attitude and approaches to driving. Avoid creating a competitive situation with another driver, even if they are at fault. In the end, it is a lose/lose situation that can cost you your life. Try not to take another person’s bad driving personally. Their problems on and off the road have nothing to do with you,” LAPD said on its website.

The police suggests courteous driving has a positive impact on the behavior of other motorists.

“You’d be surprised at the power positive actions can have, because you’re an important link in any chain reaction of driving events which can occur around you,” the LAPD website said. “When you leave enough time to drive somewhere without aggressively speeding, you are making choices that have a positive effect on the driving environment.”

By Richard Taylor

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