UTAH (PIX11) – Video of the awful moment a Utah woman ingested a toxic cleaning agent she thought was sweet tea has been released to the media.
Jan Harding was with her husband at Dickey’s Barbecue August 10th when she ordered the tea — the first one served that day, according to FOX6.
In the video, Harding takes a sip and then doubles over immediately. She tries to rinse with a glass of water, but the powerful, lye-based cleaning agent was already eating into her mouth, throat and esophagus.
Her husband, who was in the restroom, came out to find his wife in pain and ran to find an employee to figure out what was in the tea. Harding was hospitalized in critical condition with severe chemical burns that could have killed her.
The deadly mix-up occurred after an employee had, by accident, filled the sugar container with the powerful cleaner used on the grill.
The mistake, however, had been made five weeks before the incident, Harmon’s lawyer Paxton Guymon claims, and the family is wondering why the dangerous chemical was still in the sugar bin. Guymon claims that Dickey’s workers all knew the container was mislabeled, but, after a manager quit, a corporate employee joined the restaurant.
“The store manager had quit the day before. Somebody needed to step in and keep the place running. I don’t know what this person’s duties were. We haven’t been able to speak with him, but he was the one who put this lye based cleaner into the iced tea mix,” Guymon told FOX13.
Surveillance video shows the employee entering the manager’s office to take multiple scoops of the cleaning agent. He can then be seen taking the separate container out to the restaurant.
“Whatever can be done at the parent company level to make sure this doesn’t happen again, the Hardings want to see that done,” Guymon said.
Dickey’s Barbecue has not responded to requests for comment.