School janitor poisoned lead custodian's drink, Lake deputies say

Cops: Tavares High School custodian put floor cleaner in soda cup

TAVARES, Fla. – A Tavares High School custodian has been arrested after Lake County deputies say he poisoned the lead custodian by putting chemicals in her drink while she was working.

Russell Terrance Smith was charged with poisoning food or water in the Monday incident at the high school.

Deputies said the victim notified the school resource deputy at the school that she returned to her office to take a drink out of her Wendy's coke and immediately felt sick and had difficulty breathing.

The victim said she recognized the smell of a chemical odor similar to a floor stripper used by the school.

According to the report, video surveillance showed that Smith and another custodian were the only other personnel that had access to the victim's office.

The victim was transported to Florida Hospital Waterman and an investigation began.

When questioned, Smith said that he believed the victim had put the chemical in her own drink to get him terminated and that the victim left the door unlocked, according to deputies.

Deputies tested the drink and found chemicals consistent to the "Bare Bones" floor stripper.

Smith was arrested and booked into the Lake County Jail on $25,000 bond. News 6 has learned he bonded out Friday.