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Laguna Beach

Police Files

Teen brandished a handgun when interrupted by the owner of a vehicle he was trying to hot wire Monday

The owner of an El Camino parked at Glenneyre and Park Avenue saw a male teenager inside trying to hot wire the vehicle Monday morning. The owner yelled to the teen to get out and the teen lifted his shirt exposing what appeared to be a handgun, LBPD spokesman Jordan Villwock said.

Villwock added, “While the victim was calling the police the suspect advised it was not a real gun however that was never confirmed and the incident is still under investigation.”

According to the police log, the suspect was last seen running down Ramona Avenue. Police did an area search but were not able to locate him.

Laguna PD joins national campaign to end distracted driving 

Distracted driving is such an important safety issue that April is recognized as National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. In California, Police, Sheriff and CHP officials are joining the Office of Traffic Safety, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), as well as law enforcement throughout the country, working together to focus on education as well as enforcement. 

The purpose of the campaign is to raise awareness about the dangers of distracted driving in an attempt to change behavior and save lives, not just in April but also year-round. The Laguna Beach Police Department will join statewide enforcement campaigns this month, “zero tolerance days,” when all agencies will be especially vigilant for distracted drivers. 

Distracted driving continues to be a problem, especially as the use of Smartphones increases. Although such crashes are often difficult to prove, California had at least 84 fatal distracted driving collisions in 2013, 85 in 2014 and 67 in 2015, with the actual number of cases likely higher. The number of injury collisions for the same three-year period shows an increase: 10,078 in 2013; 10,463 in 2014, and 11,023 in 2015. NHTSA data for 2014 show nationwide, 3,179 people died in distracted driving collisions, which is 10% of all crash fatalities. An additional 431,000 people, or 18%, were injured in motor vehicle collisions involving distracted drivers. 

“As we rely on our cell phones more and more in our everyday lives, we seem to be kidding ourselves in thinking that they don’t affect our driving,” said OTS Director Rhonda Craft. “Crashes are up. The scientific evidence is solid. The dangers are real, and they apply to all of us. We need to silence the distractions.” The problem of distracted driving is significant, and no surprise to drivers day in and day out. 

The California Office of Traffic Safety, Police, Sheriff and the CHP reminds everyone that best way to end distracted driving is to educate all Americans about the danger it poses.

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