Driver plows into Heritage Square Museum building

Boarded up window inside museum gift shop | Nathan Solis

By Nathan Solis

MONTECITO HEIGHTS —  Heritage Square Museum officials today are  assessing the damage left behind by a driver who plowed his vehicle through the front gate and crashed into the facade of the museum’s gift shop early Sunday morning. The front of the Palms Depot, built in 1875, was struck by the vehicle, cracking windows and destroying some furniture.

The crash occurred early Sunday morning around 3 a.m. Nearby residents reported hearing the sound of a vehicle speeding up and then crashing into the fence and then the depot building. Rivas says that the driver of the vehicle did return after the incident to formally apologize to the staff. “So that is a small consolation,” said Jessica Rivas, director of education and volunteer programs.

According to the police report the driver of the vehicle did not sustain any injuries.

The museum grounds near the 110 Arryo Seco Parkway feature several Victorian-era buildings that have been relocated from other others part of Los Angeles.

Rivas  said it’s too early to put a price tag on the damage to the building and contents, but she said the damage is severe, including the destruction of a  recently restored roll top desk inside the gift shop.

Heritage Square Museum, Montecito Heights

Damaged gift shop | Nathan Solis

Heritage Square Museum, Montecito Heights

Damaged front gate | Nathan Solis

Nathan Solis is a Highland Park resident who writes about and photographs the L.A. music scene. You can find more of Solis stories, reviews and photos at Smashed Chair.


  1. Echo Park resident

    This is horrible! All signs point to DUI — how else would someone driving at 3am accelerate their car and plow through TWO obstacles without stopping? I’m curious if police were called at the time of the incident, or if the moron just returned when he/she was sober as to not invite investigation?

    They should be responsible for footing the bill for the damages. If they aren’t sued in some capacity, this is a big failure on the part of Heritage Square.

  2. A few years ago we had a similar accident happen on our dead end street in Echo Park . We heard a car accelerate and then it crashed into the retaining wall at the end of the street. Our first thought was DUI but the driver who happened to be a neighbor had a seizure while driving home. I don’t think most people try to drive into large immovable objects on purpose.

    It is good to hear the driver was unhurt and apologized to the staff. Hope the damage is coved by insurance.

  3. HeritageSquareSupporter

    This is a very unfortunate situation and quite a blow to the museum. To call for a litigious solution immediately, as another commentator did, is a bit disturbing, as the involved insurers are probably still assessing the damage. Once the extent of damage has been evaluated by trained and informed parties, then no doubt a process that will allow for speedy and historically-accurate repairs that will be covered by the insurer will be established and carried through to completion without the museum having to resort to expensive litigation.

  4. dorit dowler-guerrero

    this is horrible! the museum does such great work saving these buildings and keeping our history alive.

  5. What a dick! Heritage Square is such a wonderful gem!

  6. omg! how can this happen?! thats my favorite place in the whole wide world! are you kidding!?? whoever did this was prolly a lay down! hopefully he had gap and term care to cover the cost!

  7. Coco Doh Ma Nguyen

    I live a few blocks away and i heard everything! What a disaster. East LA is already in shambles and now this happens? The driver needs to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law whether it’s service drive for LIFE or B2B! Don’t MATTER! This whole ordeal reminds me of that song “I crashed my car into the bridge. I don’t care, I love it!”

  8. I bet the driver of that honda broke his jaw and other bones!

  9. Is this By WEHO?!

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