Driver Crashes Into Marshall County Restaurant

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ARAB, Ala. (WHNT) -- Police are trying to find out who crashed into the oldest cafe in Marshall County early Saturday morning, as well as what caused the collision.

A resident of downtown Arab heard a crash around 2:30 a.m., saw significant damage to the L Rancho Cafe, called police.

The car and driver were gone by the time officers arrived.

"We're investigating to determine if this was an intentional act toward the business or an accident leaving the roadway," officer Scottie Waldrep said.

"We did find grill evidence, we got three pieces of that, and it may be a Buick or a [Ford] Mustang of some type," he said.

L Rancho Cafe opened in the 1940s, and Teresa Willis took ownership four years ago.

She has insurance, but this was not the type of claim she ever expected to file when police woke her up early Saturday morning to ask if she was the owner.

"The first thing that came to my mind was somebody has burglarized but no, it was a surprise to find that somebody had drove through my building," she said.

The entire front wall to the left of the front door has to be replaced, and Willis had to find someone to pry the front door open so they could begin the clean-up process.

Fortunately, the ceiling and frame were still intact, and staff members spent the next four hours getting it braced for business.

"We opened on time, we still opened at 6:30 for Saturday breakfast and worked through our lunch crowd and closed at 1," she said.

"We were very fortunate, a lot of people in the community came out and they helped to clear the rubble and board it up for us so that we could do that."

Willis believes business was even better than usual.

"I think there was probably a few that came in to see what the damage was and they may not have been in here in quite some time," she said.

"It's definitely a landmark of Arab so we do not want to lose it."

Officer Waldrep said police are working with businesses in the area to try and find surveillance video of the vehicle that crashed into L Rancho.

If you have any information, contact Arab Police at 256-586-8124.

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