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‘For lack of a better word, she just snapped’: Arby’s ex-employee accused of throwing hot grease on customer

50-year-old woman charged in the case. Lawsuit filed in case.
Hueytown PD: Arby's employee throws hot grease on customer
Published: Apr. 23, 2022 at 6:56 PM CDT|Updated: Apr. 26, 2022 at 5:34 PM CDT
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HUEYTOWN, Ala. (WBRC) - UPDATE: Hueytown Police Chief Mike Yarbrough said an Arby’s employee “just snapped” when an interaction with a customer escalated.

Police in Hueytown are investigating after a former Arby’s employee allegedly threw hot grease on a customer on Saturday, April 23, 2022. The employee is in police custody.

Yarbrough said the female employee, “for lack of a better word, just snapped,” over a disagreement over a service of some sort.

Yarbrough said the victim, a female customer in her early 30s, was in a car and there were two children with her. He did not know the children’s ages or if the children were related to the victim.

The victim has secondary burns on a large portion of her body, and she is recovering at UAB, according to Yarbrough.

Officers obtained a warrant for 50-year-old Shea Denise Peoples for first-degree assault with a $30,000 bond. Peoples was taken to the Jefferson County Jail. She has posted bond.

Shea Denise Peoples
Shea Denise Peoples(Jefferson County Sheriff's Office)

An Arby’s spokesperson released the following statement: “The actions of the former employee in Hueytown, AL, were reprehensible. We immediately terminated the offender, and we are cooperating with the local authorities in their investigation. Our heart goes out to the guest, and we are working to help support their recovery.”

Chief Yarbrough stressed investigators are still working the case but justice is a long way away.

“We are still collecting evidence, we have requested the video footage from Arby’s. We except to get that. We will have a district court hearing, then we will have circuit after that, between the two will come grand jury, then circuit court and Depending on how backed up the court system is that could take eight months, that could take two years. We don’t know,” said the Hueytown Police Chief.

Ryan Canon with Morris Bart confirmed the firm is representing the victim in the case. Canon said they filed a lawsuit in Jefferson County.

“We’re shocked by what happened and the outrageous conduct of Arby’s and the manager and employee. It’s certainly unfortunate,” Canon said.

“We want to make sure and get the full story and hold those responsible for what happened responsible and to get full justice in this situation,” Canon added.

Attorney Canon said the victim had her second surgery Tuesday, and he said she is still in a lot of pain and she remains in the hospital.

Canon said he is frustrated by the fact Arby’s has not released the video of the incident yet.

He calls the incident unprovoked, he says the customer tried to order through the intercom but received no response. Canon said she then drove up to the window and tried to order milkshakes there. He says the manager then had “choice words” for the victim, he says that wasn’t well received by the victim, but that she didn’t provoke or speak ill of her. Following that, he says the manager threw hot oil at her. Again, Canon says the victim did not threaten, speak ill, or do anything to provoke the incident.

Her injuries are mostly to her upper body, but Canon says most of the oil appears to have missed her face.

Canon says a second person has come forward with a similar story from a different day, where they received no response at the intercom, tried to order at the window, and were yelled at by the same manager.

WBRC reached out to Arby’s for a response to the lawsuit filing and received this statement: “The actions of the former employee in Hueytown, AL, were reprehensible. We immediately terminated the offender, and we are cooperating with the local authorities in their investigation. Our heart goes out to the guest, and we are working to help support their recovery.”

Here is a copy of the lawsuit filed in Jefferson County:

Hueytown Police Chief Yarbrough updates grease assault

ORIGINAL: Police in Hueytown are investigating after an Arby’s employee allegedly threw hot grease on a customer on Saturday, April 23, 2022.

Authorities say they responded to calls of an altercation between an employee and a customer. Police believe the employee threw grease on the customer in the drive thru.

Officials with Hueytown Fire and Rescue gave medical treatment to the victim on scene, and they were taken to the hospital to treat their burns.

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