Restaurant raising money to return the body of man killed in hit-and-run home to Guatemala

Restaurant raising money to return the body of man killed in hit-and-run home to Guatemala
Restaurant fundraising to return the body of employee killed in hit-and-run home to Guatemala (Source: Margaritas Restaurant)

OAKLAND, Tenn. (WMC) - A restaurant in Oakland, Tennessee is raising money to send a hit-and-run victim’s body home to his family in Guatemala.

Workers at Margaritas say Juan Bartolo was a young man chasing his dreams in the United States and sending money home to family in Guatemala. Bartolo worked at another restaurant in town, El Nopal, but had friends on staff at Margaritas.

“If he could go the extra mile, he would. That's the type of guy he was,” said Jaime Castillo, manager at Margaritas Restaurant.

A family friend says Bartolo was killed in a hit-and-run Thursday night.

Friends say Bartolo was a young man who loved to sing and dance. He died when he was hit by a car while riding his bike home on Highway 64.

“It's just sad, you know what I'm saying? And for something for that to happen and in an instant, you're gone and all we've got is just memories now,” said Castillo.

Castillo says Juan helped take care of his family in Guatemala and lived with his brother in Oakland.

Margaritas has placed a fundraising jar by their register in Bartolo’s memory. A family friend says a Juan Bartolo Memorial Fund has been set up at the Bank of Lafayette County.

Employee at Margaritas have also created a GoFundMe for Bartolo.

The goal is to raise enough money to send Bartolo’s body back to his family in Latin America and give his family some closure.

“Everybody, their family, their closer friends, the people that he grew up with, everybody … It’s his homeland, Guatemala. And they’re waiting for him to come back from his dream and he couldn’t make it unfortunately. This type of situation, this is the only thing we could do, help out,” said Castillo.

Friends say police have made an arrest in the hit-and-run, but Oakland police have not responded to our requests for information.

*Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story reported Juan Bartolo worked at Margaritas, but he actually worked at El Nopal and had friends on staff at Margaritas.

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