Iola, KS – A McDonald’s employee who allegedly put a peroxide-based cleaner into an Allen County deputy’s drink has been arrested.
The incident occurred at the Iola McDonald’s restaurant in late August, when an unnamed Allen County sheriff’s deputy pulled into the drive-thru to grab a bite to eat, KOAM reported.
After he ate his meal, the deputy began experiencing “flu-like” symptoms, Allen County Sheriff Bryan Murphy told The Wichita Eagle.
“He thought he caught the bug,” Sheriff Murphy said. “We found out two weeks later when an employee came forward and told the police department.”
According to the sheriff, the unnamed employee told investigators that 22-year-old Trevor Hockaday had added “four little squirts” of a chemical cleaner to the deputy’s drink cup.
Workers at the restaurant use the peroxide-based cleaner to wipe down counters, the sheriff said.
Other McDonald’s employees also provided statements about the incident to investigators.
When Sheriff Murphy contacted the McDonald’s regional office in Joplin, Missouri, he learned that the business was aware of Hockaday’s alleged actions against the deputy, but that no one at the regional office had reported the incident to law enforcement.
According to Sheriff Murphy, a regional official told the sheriff that the local manager at the Iola store had not notified regional or corporate managers about what had occurred.
Hockaday was arrested for aggravated battery of a law enforcement officer on Sep. 12.
McDonald’s suspended Hockaday pending the outcome of an internal investigation, Sheriff Murphy said.
In a statement, Glen Nichols, who owns and operates the Iola restaurant, said he was “disappointed” by Hockaday’s actions.
“Nothing is more important to us than the safety and well-being of our customers,” Nichols said, according to The Wichita Eagle. “We are very disappointed by the allegations made regarding the behavior of one of our former crew members.”
“This kind of behavior goes against our food safety standards and is not tolerated,” the statement continued. “Our organization will take all appropriate measures to gather facts and will work closely with authorities in their investigation.”
Sheriff Murphy said he was thankful that no one else was injured as a result of Hockaday’s actions.
“In today’s day and age, not only us in law enforcement but citizens as a whole, there’s enough going on out there that we have to worry about… now my guys are cautious about going through that drive through,” Sheriff Murphy told The Wichita Eagle. “We all chose this line of work to protect and serve. Now my guys have that concern of, ‘Is my food safe?’”
The incident remains under investigation, a McDonald’s spokesperson said on Thursday, according to The Wichita Eagle.
If convicted, Hockaday faces up to 20 years in prison, KOAM reported.