April 18, 2014

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Man accused of putting brake cleaner in co-worker’s drink

COLUMBUS — A grand jury indicted a car dealership mechanic accused of spraying an automotive cleaner into a teenage co-worker’s drink.

Phillip Todd, 22, of Marysville, sprayed a brake-cleaning solvent into the sports drink bottle of Matthew Hollenbaugh, 17, an apprentice at the Germain Lexus dealership in Dublin, according to a June 27 police report.

Todd was charged with contaminating a substance for human consumption, a first-degree felony that carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison if convicted. The indictment was filed Thursday in Franklin County Common Pleas Court.

Hollenbaugh, who was working toward an automotive certificate for high school, said he took a drink from the bottle and spit the contents out when he noticed a foul taste, according to the police report.

He became nauseated and dizzy and asked to go home.

The bottle, which was recovered from a trash bin, contained the hexane and isopropanol, according to an analysis by the state crime lab.

Hexane can cause blindness and nausea and is potentially fatal, the police report said.

Todd and another mechanic, who was aware of the contaminated drink, were fired, the police report said. Both denied trying to harm Hollenbaugh and said they wanted to see what the cleaner would do to the drink, the report said.