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Kings County, California — March 20, 2012

A motorist smashed into another vehicle Tuesday while on the run from police in Armona.

According to deputies with the Kings County Sheriff’s Department, a physical altercation was reported in the vicinity of Ada Street and 14th Avenue around 1:10 p.m. Upon responding, officers observed a white Chevrolet driving away from the scene.

The vehicle stopped momentarily along Hood Street where a passenger exited. The suspect driver, later identified as 21-year-old Lemoore resident Michael Abila, then proceeded onto Dan Drive before turning into Pinto Street.

From 14th Avenue, Mr. Abila merged onto California State Route 198. The pursuing patrol car initiated a traffic stop, but Mr. Abila exited the highway at Exit 84 (13th Avenue) and collided with another vehicle at Hanford-Armona Road. The Chevrolet careened into a nearby flood-control channel and Mr. Abila took off on foot.

He was later arrested and faces charges of violating parole, hit and run and evading law enforcement. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports California has the highest rate of fatal hit-and-run crashes in the country.

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