Woman Found Frozen to Death at Arby’s Restaurant Beat Door So Hard Until She Bled, Fell Face First and Froze to the Floor

by Xara Aziz
Turbo Restaurants/Sun Holdings, Inc.

The family of a Texas woman found frozen to death after she was locked inside an Arby’s freezer in Louisiana is now suing the franchise for gross negligence in their loved one’s death.

The family’s attorney, Paul Skrabanek, confirmed that Nguyet Le, a mother of four, was working for the restaurant, a subsidiary of Turbo Restaurants and Sun Holdings, Inc., when the accident took place.  

The 63-year-old had traveled to Louisiana from Texas to cover for the general manager at its Houston location when she died while locked inside the freezer.  

“She began doing duties to prepare the restaurant for opening that day and somehow must’ve gotten locked in that freezer before 10 AM because other employees began to show up at 10, 11 o’clock in the morning, and they couldn’t get in,” Skrabanek told FOX 26 Houston. “I guess they don’t give them keys.” 

He added that employees attempted to contact the victim but their phone calls were left unanswered. Nine hours later, senior management asked the victim’s son – who is a co-general manager at the restaurant and had a set of keys – to check the restaurant.

“The manager realized we don’t have any sales at the location today. That’s really really odd. He asked him to go check things out and that’s when Nguyen found his mother about 6 o’clock that evening,” Skrabanek said. “Talking to the police officer that investigated this scene, they said she really struggled to get out of that freezer. She beat on the door as hard as she could. There was blood on the door, and she ultimately fell face first and froze to the floor.” 

Medical records show Le died of hypothermia. According to FOX 26 Houston, the company policy is to leave the freezer set at -10 degrees or colder at all times. In the lawsuit’s court filing, it states employees would use a screwdriver to open and close the freezer door and would use a box of oil to keep it open when needed.

“We know that talking to a former employee there that it had been broken since at least August of last year,” Skrabanek said. “And that upper management had come through there and personally witnessed that broken latch and nothing had been done. He made repeated requests to get it addressed and in fact, I’m told that Ms. Le actually made a request in writing to management about it.”

An Arby’s representative released a statement shortly after the victim’s death, stating “We are aware of the tragic incident that took place at our franchised location in New Iberia, LA. The franchisee is cooperating fully with local authorities as they conduct their investigation. Due to this being an active investigation, we defer any further comment to the state police department.” 

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