Lye-laced tea burns woman at restaurant

SALT LAKE CITY – Lye-laced tea burned a 67-year-old grandmother at a Utah restaurant this week. Jan Harding remained in critical condition Thursday at a Salt Lake City hospital burn unit.

Investigators and the restaurant manager said a worker mistook a cleaning product for sugar and accidentally mixed large quantities of it into the iced-tea dispenser, lawyer Paxton Guymon, Harding’s attorney, said. Harding hasn’t improved since Sunday, when she and her husband went to Dickey’s Barbecue Pit in South Jordan after church, Guymon said. She is unable to talk and is fighting for her life, he said.

Police have determined Harding is the only victim. It appears she was the first to drink the tea that day, and restaurant employees dumped it out after she was burned, police said.