Chief deputy says Erwin Pizza Hut employee spit on his food to retaliate for DUI arrest

Brad Hicks • Jan 28, 2014 at 9:33 AM

ERWIN - An Erwin woman was arrested last week for allegedly using her position as a local restaurant employee to express her frustration over a prior arrest by spitting in the food of Unicoi County Sheriff's Department Chief Deputy Frank Rogers.

Amanda D. Engle, 29, 270 Rock Creek Road, was arrested Thursday and charged with disorderly conduct.

According to the arrest report written by Rogers, Rogers went to the Erwin Pizza Hut on Thursday to pick up pizzas he had ordered by phone earlier. Engle did not ask Rogers for his name, but rang up the pizzas and advised Rogers that the pizzas were still in the oven and that the food would be ready in a few minutes.

"I sat down on the bench which is straight in front of the counter," Rogers wrote in his report. "The pizza oven is directly behind the counter. As the defendant removed the pizza from the oven I observed her cut her eyes and look at me. The defendant then leaned over the pizza that she had began to slice, and I observed her spit on the pizza which had been purchased by me."

Rogers wrote that he immediately called this action to Engle's attention and asked Engle if she was aware of who he is. Engle replied that she knew Rogers, according to the report.

"I told her that I needed to talk to her manager, she stated 'I am the Manager,'" Rogers wrote in the report.

Engle was arrested at the scene for allegedly spitting on Rogers' pizza and was transported to the Unicoi County Jail for booking.

"The defendant was observed by me depositing bodily fluid on the commercial food which had been purchased by me," Rogers wrote in his report. "The defendant did, in a public place, create a hazardous or physically offensive condition by an act which served no legitimate purpose."

Although the pizzas purchased by Rogers were for him and his family, Unicoi County Sheriff Mike Hensley said Monday that the Unicoi County Sheriff's Department has a relationship with the local Pizza Hut and that the restaurant is not responsible for Engle's actions.

"Pizza Hut has been a good, reputable business in Unicoi County for several, several years," Hensley said. "We've patronized the Pizza Hut and will continue to patronize it. It's not their fault. It just boiled down to a bad employee."

Hensley said Engle's action was in "retaliation" for a driving under the influence charge placed against her by Rogers in April. Hensley also said Rogers acted appropriately by arresting Engle "on the spot" Thursday for allegedly spitting in his food.

"I commend him for that," Hensley said. "If he had not taken any action or had not done anything, who else would she have done this to?"

The sheriff said the restaurant also acted quickly. He said he understands that Engle was terminated the day following her arrest.

"They didn't let it lay, they got on it real quick," Hensley said.

Engle has bonded out of the Unicoi County Jail. She is scheduled to appear in Unicoi County General Sessions Court on Feb. 20.

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