SALT LAKE CITY — Is it a case of protecting a co-worker or a fight that went too far?
On Thursday, a Taco Bell employee accused of beating up a customer who had complained about his meal and allegedly punched a female worker, was charged in 3rd District Court Thursday with aggravated assault, a second-degree felony.
On Tuesday, Douglas Wright Jr., 64, walked into Taco Bell, 621 E. 400 South, to complain about his order, according to charging documents. A female employee told police that Wright "tried to start a fight with her co-workers."
After he was given a refund, Wright was escorted out by employees, but he pushed the female employee "and then punched her in the chest," according to charging documents.
Duane Massie, 23, an employee at the fast-food restaurant, reacted by "repeatedly hitting" Wright and then kicking him several times in the head and chest once Wright fell to the ground, the charges state. Police say Massie has a second-degree green belt in Muay Thai-style fighting.
Wright told investigators that the female employee "kept getting in his face" and he shoved her "to get her away from him so he could leave," the charges state. Wright said he didn't remember anything about what happened after being knocked to the ground.
After Wright was taken to the hospital, doctors discovered his dialysis access line had come undone and he was bleeding internally.
"Later that night, Mr. Wright received surgery to correct the fistula and prevent him from bleeding out," the charges state.
Wright also suffered a broken neck, according to police. When the charges were filed Thursday, investigators noted that Wright remained in critical condition, "intubated and unconscious."