Bartmann said the probe was aimed at determining whether it was poison and whether it had been put there by someone at the restaurant, at 16776 E. Smoky Hill Rd. “They’re combing through video to see if they can see anyone putting anything in there,” he said.
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Taco Bell manager Lary Swift denied to CBS Colorado that the restaurant was the source of the poison. “We don’t carry poison in the restaurant,” she told the station. “We didn’t do anything like that. It didn’t even add up. It’s ridiculous.”
Deputies were called to the Taco Bell on Sunday afternoon after getting multiple calls — including at least one from another customer — about a disturbance at the drive-through. CBS Colorado reported that Swift described the customer as a regular who had been argumentative on other visits. He was angered when told that the restaurant’s drink machine wasn’t working and asked for something free to go along with his food order, the sheriff’s office said and the manager told the news station. He was given a free burrito, Bartmann said.
Later that evening, the man began to eat his food at home and became “violently ill” after biting into a soft taco, he said. He called 911 and told paramedics and other medical workers that he had eaten rat poison. The man, whose name authorities have not revealed, has since been released from the hospital.
Emails to Taco Bell representatives seeking comment weren’t immediately returned. The location was shut down after the incident but reopened after complying with health officials’ directions, Bartmann said.
In addition to the examination of video, Bartmann said, the investigation has included interviews with Taco Bell workers who were there at the time of the alleged incident. Officials will test the substance found in the food “if necessary,” he said.