Alabama Arby’s manager threw hot grease on customer after ‘words were exchanged,’ police say

By Carol Robinson

50-year-old Shea Denise Peoples was charged with assault for throwing hot grease on a customer during an altercation at a Hueytown Arby’s on April 24, 2022 (Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office)

An Alabama Arby’s manager has been charged after police say she doused a drive-thru customer with hot grease following a dispute over service.

Hueytown police on Monday said 50-year-old Shea Denise Peoples is charged with first-degree assault. Her bond is set at $30,000.

The incident happened about 3:15 p.m. Saturday at the Arby’s on the corner of Allison-Bonnet Memorial Drive and Forest Road.

Officers responded to the restaurant on a report of an altercation and arrived to find the drive-thru customer suffering from burns.

Police Chief Mike Yarbrough said the two women got into a verbal dispute over the service in the drive-thru but he didn’t elaborate.

“To our knowledge, these women have never met, don’t know each other,’’ Yarbrough said. “Words were exchanged, and it went downhill.”

He said it appears the manager went to get the grease and then returned, then throwing it on the victim.

The chief said the victim sustained burns to her neck, left arm, and back. She has second-degree burns “covering a large portion of her body,’’ police said, and remains hospitalized.

Hueytown Fire and Rescue provided medical treatment and then transported her to UAB Hospital. She had two children in the vehicle with her but they were not injured.

The family has hired Birmingham attorney Thomas Putnam. He said he will likely make a statement later today.

The employee was taken into custody at the scene. She was immediately fired.

The grease left a scorch mark on the brick below the drive-thru window. The restaurant was open for business on Monday.

A spokesman for the company released this statement on Monday: “The actions of the former employee in Hueytown 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.”