Lexington County Sheriff’s Department detectives Wednesday arrested a Leesville man on charges that he poured chlorine bleach into a water tank meant for dialysis machines.
Lexington County Sheriffs deputies say 49-year-old Donald Albert Foster, III was a former employee at Fresenius Medical Services in West Columbia. The clinic suspended him without pay on July 2, deputies said. Foster allegedly entered after hours on July 7 and poured chlorine bleach into the holding tank.
On July 9, clinic employees found the contamination when they opened for the day. Employees told deputies that they found the chlorine before the water was ever supplied to dialysis machines. “The water is tested every four hours whenever they’re open for business and performing dialysis,” said Sheriff’s Office spokesman Maj. John Allard, adding that no patients ever received any of the water.
Deputies say Foster knew from his training at the clinic that such contamination could kill any patients in dialysis treatment. In this case, deputies say the chlorine level in the water was high enough that it would have been fatal to any patients whose bodies received it.
“I cannot recall, in my 12 years working with the Sheriff’s Department, a case like this,” Allard said. “Fortunately, it’s not the kind of thing that we typically we see fired employees resort to.”
Foster is charged with attempted murder and second-degree burglary. He faces up to 45 years in prison. A bond hearing is scheduled for Thursday morning.