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He ordered McDonald’s Diet Cokes. One was spiked with a heroin-like opiate, lawsuit says

A Utah man is suing after he says a McDonald’s Diet Coke he ordered in 2016 was spiked with a heroin replacement opioid that interacted with his medication and made him blackout and collapse.
A Utah man is suing after he says a McDonald’s Diet Coke he ordered in 2016 was spiked with a heroin replacement opioid that interacted with his medication and made him blackout and collapse. AP

He was drafting an email and holding his 12-month-old child when the effects hit.

Feeling started draining from the Utah man’s fingers, arms and legs, he said. His eyes lost focus. As the symptoms worsened, he passed the baby off to his 8-year-old child, according to a lawsuit filed Monday.

“Daddy, are you okay?” the older child asked, according to the lawsuit.

He wasn’t. But Trevor Walker, of South Jordan, Utah, was able to fire off two frantic, confused texts to his wife before he blacked out on Aug. 12, 2016, the lawsuit said.

“Something is vey (sic) wrong with me. I am having sensations in my arms and everything is moving slowly. I’m feeling scared. I don’t know what to do,” Walker wrote, according to the lawsuit. “I’m so scared I’m trying to be calm. I need you.”

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That’s when Walker tried to stand — but instead of getting to his feet, he lost consciousness, tumbling onto a table and then down to the floor. His wife found him collapsed there and helped him up. Neighbors had to hoist him into the car so she could drive him to the hospital.

A urinalysis at the hospital revealed there was buprenorphine, a heroin substitute, in his system, according to the lawsuit. The drug had interacted poorly with a medication Walker was taking, which “created a substantial risk of death,” the lawsuit said.

But how had he ingested it in the first place?

That’s what the family wanted to know, and they turned their attention to the meal they had just purchased: Two McDonald’s happy meals for the kids, and two chicken sandwich meals for the parents — including two Diet Cokes, according to the lawsuit.

Walker ordered the meal at a Riverton, Utah, McDonald’s drive-thru a couple miles from his home. He was drinking the Diet Coke on the way home, just before the alarming symptoms began, the lawsuit said.

His wife, Rachelle, compared his Diet Coke to hers, and found her husband’s “had speckles and a film on the surface—a fact that [Walker] was not aware of due to the lid placed by McDonald’s on the drink,” the lawsuit said.

She called local police, who took the drink into custody. Later that month, the test results revealed the presence of buprenorphine in the drink as well, according to Utah Bureau of Forensic Services’ Report cited by the lawsuit.

The drink had been spiked, the lawsuit said.

According to the lawsuit, the main suspect was a McDonald’s worker who was the younger brother of the fast food restaurant’s manager. Before the incident, that worker’s social media posts had suggested he was a drug user — and that he was no stranger to “disrespecting McDonald’s customers through the Drive-Thru window,” the suit said.

The worker and the sibling manager quit their McDonald’s jobs after police questioned them, the lawsuit said.

But by that point, surveillance video from the restaurant (including the drive-thru) had been deleted. The manager gave police footage from the next day, Aug. 13, instead of footage from the day of the incident.

“You’re supposed to preserve all the evidence,” said Brady Brammer, Walker’s attorney, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.

The lawsuit alleges that “the lack of video footage was the primary reason that none of the employees have been arrested.”

Walker said that’s scary, too.

“There’s some guy out there who can just do it again,” Walker said, according to the Tribune.

Filed in Utah’s Third Judicial District Court, the lawsuit alleges McDonald’s is liable for breach of implied warranty, negligence and negligent infliction of emotional distress. It seeks unspecified punitive damages.

Walker suffers from severe anxiety and post-traumatic stress following the incident, the lawsuit said.

McDonald’s did not respond to McClatchy’s request for comment.

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