Woman who drank toxic tea speaks out for the first time
(KUTV) Jan Harding, the woman who drank toxic tea at a Dickey's restaurant in August, spoke publicly for the first time Friday afternoon.
Jan says she is thankful and held on to faith while she recovered from chemical burns in the hospital. Jan drank the tea while at lunch with her husband on Sunday, August 10.
"I took a sip and immediately my whole mouth was on fire...I told my husband 'I think I drank acid,'" said Jan.
The second she sipped the tea she says the burn was so intense and she immediately spit it out.
Emergency officials took Jan from Sandy to a local hospital. She was then flown to the University of Utah Medical Center Burn Unit in critical condition.
Jan suffered lesions in her esophagus, despite the fact that she spit out the tea mixed with a chemical degreaser instead of sugar. At the hospital she required a breathing tube and doctors told her family it was a life or death situation.
When family members asked the doctors how severe the damage was they were not able to tell her. Doctors could not do a scope on Jan for about a week in fear they would further the damage.
"I couldn't drink my own saliva...I could not brush my teeth for seven days," said Jan.
However, doctors knew for certain Jan had not swallowed the tea and it was not in her stomach. They told the Harding family if it was, Jan would not be alive.
Slowly Jan began to recover and she was released from the hospital on her and her husband, Jim's, 46th wedding anniversary. She was surrounded by family for her trip home from the hospital. Jan and Jim celebrated their wedding anniversary by watching a movie at their home. Jan says coming home was a perfect anniversary gift.
"We ate bland food," Jan said while shedding tears of joy. "...and we danced."
The long road ahead is not over for Jan. Doctors still do not know if there will be future complications, but for now Jan feels lucky to be alive.
"I could not have made it without my family...and I could not have made it without the prayers of America," said Harding.
The Harding family says people from all over the nation who were touched by their story reached out to their family.
The Harding family hopes their experience will inspire action in the restaurant industry.
"God has allowed something into our lives to make some positive differences," says Jim.
The family hopes the restaurant industry will ensure food is correctly labeled. They suggest the industry to make changes like adding color to substances that aren't food so there is no way they can be confused for something edible.
"We are hoping some good comes from this," said Jan Harding.
The Harding family says it will be awhile before they will have the courage to go out to eat again. Jan says next time she will test the beverage with her finger.
Charges possible over toxic tea incident at South Jordan Dickey’s Barbecue
(KUTV) It may have been a most unfortunate accident, or it's possible the toxic tea that hospitalized a woman at a South Jordan barbecue restaurant could lead to criminal charges.
"We're trying to make a decision is this rises to a level of a crime," said Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill. "Or maybe it doesn't rise to a level of a crime, and (we can) put it to rest."
The DA said his office is looking for more information surrounding the incident at Dickey's Barbecue in South Jordan that put Jan Harding in the hospital for days with lesions to her esophagus. One sip and Harding said she felt burning and knew the drink was trouble.
2News asked Gill if charges are possible against an individual, more than one person, or perhaps even the restaurant.
"Well, the fair answer is all of the above," the DA replied.
Last January, a Salt Lake County inspection found what the health department termed a "non-critical" violation of improper labeling of food containers. A day after Harding took the fateful sip, another inspector noted "sugar containers are not labeled with the common name of the food."
Two weeks ago, Dickey's Barbecue Restaurants, Inc., based in Texas, issued a statement in which it said it was "saddened by the events," but said the bad tea was an "isolated incident" at the South Jordan location.
A statement issued by Dickey's says, "Nothing like this has occurred in the 73 years we have operated. There is nothing more important to us than the trust and safety of our guests."
Dickey's also said "the independent owner" of the South Jordan eatery is cooperating with the investigation.
Gill said "all parties have been very cooperative."
Still in the realm of potential criminal charges, he identified questions before prosecutors: "Is it simply negligence? Is it criminal negligence? Is it reckless? Was it intentional?"
The DA's Office may make a decision next week, on whether or not to file charges.
Utah Public Service Commission rejects proposal for monthly fee on solar power users
(KUTV) The Utah Public Service Commission has rejected a proposal from Rocky Mountain Power to impose a monthly fee on users of solar power.
The $4.65 per month net metering facilities charge on residential homes was rejected in an order issued Friday. The charge was designed to ensure all customers fairly paid for infrastructure and grid costs, a power company spokesman said.
According to the order, the UPSC "cannot conclude that the proposed net metering facilities charge is just and reasonable" under state law.
The commission denied Rocky Mountain Power's request, but it left the door open for future action by asking for a study on energy-generating customers and scheduling a conference to present findings in November. Clean energy advocates praised the decision.
"What a bright day for Utah's future," said Sarah Wright, executive director of Utah Clean Energy, in a statement. "This order protects energy choice in Utah, and recognizes the potential solar has to benefit all Utahns."
Watch 2News at 10 p.m. for a full report on this story.
(KUTV) The 100 deadliest days of summer are coming to an end and officials say it has not been a good year.
According to the Utah Department of Transportation, 93 people have lost their lives on Utah Roads since May 23. Police say that is five more people than last year at this time or a 5.7 percent increase.
One of the worst weekends was the July 4 holiday when nine people were killed in car accidents.
Authorities say they are concerned about the upcoming Labor Day holiday weekend.
"Labor Day marks the end of the 100 most deadliest days," said Utah Highway Patrol Sgt. Todd Royce. "It's a tragic thing when we have to go up to a house and inform loved ones that they've lost someone in a fatal crash."
At 9 p.m. Friday at UHP headquarters at 5300 South and Interstate-15, troopers and Mothers Against Drunk Driving will be having a major kickoff to start the saturation of troopers on Utah roads.
"We got 266 additional shifts we are adding and they will be looking for five different violations mainly driving under the influence, seat belts, speed, distractive driving and drowsy driving," said Sgt. Royce.
UHP troopers hope these efforts will create zero fatalities during Labor Day Weekend.
"We've got four days left. We are hoping this weekend we have no fatal crashes," said Sgt. Royce.
The total number of deaths on Utah roads since January 1 is 165. UHP says it is a total of 20 more people than last year.
Batmobiles arrive in Salt Lake City for music video
(KUTV) Three batmobiles from three different eras arrived in Salt Lake City Friday night for the filming of a music video.
Over the years, David Dickson and Harold Tapley have built two replica batmobiles. One of them is from the 1989 Michael Keaton "Batman" film, while the other is from the Dark Knight series.
Dickson and Tapley say a lot of work and money went into making the replicas.
"I would say roughly I have $50,000 into it," said Dickson.
The hard work of Dickson and Tapley has paid off. The Piano Guys, a musical group in Utah, has taken note and will use these three cars in their latest music video. The theme of the video will be Batman music through the years.
"We are going to take people through the journey of Batman, starting out with the original...the video will progress," said Paul Anderson with the Piano Guys.
Good Question: 'What if doctors don't have your type of blood?'
(KUTV) Whether it's an emergency or a scheduled surgery, there is a good chance that if an operating room is involved there is a patient who is receiving blood that came from a stranger.
Mark wrote to 2News asking what happens if doctors run out of the type of blood a patient needs. I took it to ARUP Blood Services marketing director Lance Bandley.
ARUP Blood Services is the sole blood supplier for Primary Children's Medical Center as well as University Hospital and the Huntsman Cancer Institute. Bandley says it's his job to make sure those hospitals and several others around Utah and other western states never have to worry about whether or not there is enough blood.
"Every single day we've got blood drives lined up months in advance or we can call people and have them come in," he said.
There are eight different blood types and in a pinch certain types can be substituted without it hurting the patient, Bandley says. The bench mark is the blood type O negative.
"O negative is universal," he said. "It can go to any person that needs blood. It's used a lot in trauma situations because they don't know the type of the person coming in."
Bandley says if you're hurt this Labor Day weekend, or any other time, you really need not worry about the hospital having your type, especially here in Utah. Bandley says in the eight years he's been with ARUP Blood Services they have not come even close to running out.
"Luckily Utah is an awesome state. People are very giving. When we ask them, and say, we need your help to come in, they respond and come in so we've never been close to running out. There's times when it's a little tighter, but we've never run out of blood."
A person can donate every 56 days and Brandley says they need 100 donors per day just to keep up with the demand of hospitals.
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