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Arby’s manager facing charges after allegedly throwing hot grease on customer

Hueytown Police said the customer was going through the drive-thru when the alleged incident happened. 
/ Source: TODAY

An Alabama Arby's manager is facing criminal charges and a civil lawsuit after she allegedly dumped hot grease on a drive-thru customer, leaving the victim with severe burns. 

On Saturday, the Hueytown Police department posted a press release on its Facebook page that said officers had responded to a report of an altercation between an employee and a customer at a local Arby’s.

“Upon arrival, officers determined that an employee threw hot grease on a customer in the drive-thru,” the release said. 

After the Hueytown Fire and Rescue provided medical treatment, the victim was then taken to UAB Hospital to treat her burns.

An Arby's restaurant from the outside with a sign.
The exterior of the Hueytown, Alabama, Arby's.WVTM

In a follow-up statement posted on the police department’s Facebook page on Monday, detectives confirmed that 50-year-old Shea Denise Peoples was charged with first degree assault in the incident. Officials said that the Arby’s manager was taken to the Jefferson County Jail and her bond was set at $30,000.

Although police did not reveal the victim’s name, they did share that she is a woman in her early 30’s and that she is still at the hospital recovering from her second burns, which cover “a large portion of her body.”

NBC News affiliate WVTM in Birmingham spoke to the Chief of Police in Hueytown, Mike Yarbrough, who said an argument occurred between Peoples and the victim before the grease was tossed. 

“I would say, for lack of a better word, she just snapped,” Yarbrough explained. “All we know is that she got to a point, she went back and got grease and came out and poured it on our victim.”

He added, “I can’t think of anything that could be said that warrants this kind of punishment.”

The drive-thru window at the Hueytown, Alabama, Arby's.
The drive-thru window at the Hueytown, Alabama, Arby's.WVTM

Attempts by NBC News to reach Peoples at several publicly available phone numbers were not successful.

According to court documents, the victim in the incident filed a personal injury lawsuit on Monday that named the Peoples, Arby’s and others as the defendants. 

Lawyer Ryan Canon, who works for the firm Morris Bart, LLC representing the victim, told WVTM that he was “shocked” by the alleged incident.

He also shared that the dispute seemed to happen after the victim, who was in the car with 11-year-old and 4-year-old daughters, ordered a milkshake. According to Canon, the manager then allegedly said some “impolite things” and “called (his) client a name.” 

Canon said, “My client simply asked whether the employee would appreciate her being called that,” Canon said. “That is when the employee allegedly went back, got the grease and threw it on her.”

An Arby’s spokesperson referred to Peoples’ alleged behavior as “reprehensible” in a statement sent to NBC News.

“We immediately terminated the offender, and we are cooperating with the local authorities in their investigation,” the restaurant chain said. “Our heart goes out to the guest, and we are working to help support their recovery.”