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This L.A. Taquería Is Raising Funds After a Driver Crashed Into Restaurant and Fled the Scene

The celebrated taquería took home the “Best of Show” award at L.A. TACO's own Taco Madness in 2018, and has now set up a GoFundMe account for anyone wanting to help as they attempt to repair the damages.

9:09 AM PST on December 13, 2023

Screenshot via: @Balamtaco/IG

Surveillance video captured the moment when a speeding car crashed into Lynwood taquería Balam Mexican Kitchen before the driver was seen fleeing the scene on foot.

In a video shared by Balam owner Rosendo “Chendo” Jacquez, a car is seen plowing at a high speed into a corner wall of the restaurant. A few moments after the crash, a man is visible running away from the scene wearing a blue hoodie and grey pants. It is unclear if the man responsible has been apprehended, but currently, the restaurant is seeking the public's help as they attempt to repair the damages. 

“The financial burden of rebuilding is substantial, and I find myself in a challenging situation,” said Jacquez on Instagram after sharing video and photos of the damage, which can be seen both inside and outside the restaurant. 

Almost the entire front and part of the side of the restaurant were damaged, the tile on the wall was shattered, their outdoor counter was damaged on one side, and holes were visible to anyone passing by. The inside of their kitchen was noticeably in disarray, with glass from the broken windows all over the kitchen floor. Some of their equipment inside is also visibly damaged. 

It is unclear if the person driving the car was under the influence when the crash happened but Jacquez believes it was due to drunk driving. Other people online chimed in with their possible explanations. One said they thought it looked like it could have been two cars racing, as two vehicles were visible but only one crashed.

The surveillance video shows the man believed to have driving the car fleeing the scene towards the end of the video. Video via Balam Taco.

“This street is dangerous,” Jacquez tells L.A. TACO shortly after witnessing another crash on Long Beach Boulevard on Tuesday evening, two days after the one that damaged his restaurant. “Another accident literally happened right now.”

Balam who took home the “Best of Show” award at L.A. TACO's own Taco Madness in 2018 has now set up a GoFundMe account so anyone wanting to help can donate as Jacquez attempts to repair the damages.

He also encouraged Balam's customers and those who may not be able to donate to simply stop by and support the business. For now, the restaurant is not thinking of closing and is soldiering on as best as it can. 

“Your generous donation will not only help restore this cherished establishment but will also support the livelihoods of those who depend on it," his message reads. "Every contribution, no matter the size, will make a meaningful difference in rebuilding our community gathering place.”

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