Utah woman critically hurt after sipping tea laced with lye

A Utah woman remains in critical condition with severe burns after sipping ice tea that was laced with a chemical used to clean cooking equipment at a local restaurant on Sunday, according to police and the victim's attorney.

Jan Harding, 67, was dining at Dickey's Barbecue Pit in South Jordan around noon Sunday when she sipped the poisoned drink, according to local police.  

Winkler said a "highly toxic industrial cleaning chemical" was mixed into the ice tea, which was left in a dispenser that is accessible to patrons. The chemical, which is used to clean grease off of frying equipment, contains sodium hydroxide, commonly known as lye, Winkler said.

Harding's attorney, Paxton Guymon, said an employee confused the deadly chemical with sugar and mixed it into the drink.

Harding, who is married with three children and six grandchildren, remains in critical condition at the University of Utah Hospital's burn unit. Winkler told The Times that the 67-year-old woman has been intubated, has limited motion of her head and neck and cannot speak.

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