Howard Matthew Webb

Howard Matthew Webb

A Maryville man accused of dipping his privates in salsa being delivered to a low-tipping restaurant customer faces a felony charge.

Howard Matthew “Matt” Webb, 31, Tuckaleechee Pike, is being held in the Blount County Jail in lieu of $45,000 bond pending a 9 a.m. hearing today in Blount County General Sessions Court.

Maryville Police officers arrested Webb on Friday night after being contacted by the Dinner Delivered service about a video that seemed to show someone tampering with food intended for a diner they perceived in the past to be a low tipper.

Webb is charged with “adulteration of food, liquids, or pharmaceuticals,” a Class C felony. If convicted, he faces a possible sentence of three to 15 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

‘Disgusting’

The 14-second video, apparently shot from the driver’s seat of a vehicle and since removed from the internet, shows a man in the passenger seat take a white cup and hold it to his groin area while moving his pants.

In the background a voice that sounds like a woman is laughing and saying, “This is what you get when you give an 89-cents tip for an almost 30-minute drive.”

The man says, “Ah, this feels good on my ... .”

Maryville Police Chief Tony Crisp said Monday the investigation is ongoing.

Aliyah Wilson, a general manager for Dinner Delivered, said the driver, who was an independent contractor, no long works for the company. “She will never drive for Dinner Delivered again.” Webb, the passenger, was not affiliated with the delivery service, and it’s not clear why he was in the vehicle.

Although the driver is not seen in the video, Wilson said the company terminated its agreement with the driver after receiving screenshots of other messages allegedly from the driver referring to food tampering.

The restaurant delivery service began serving Maryville in July 2018 and the driver had been with the company since November, Wilson said. “She had been a good, reliable driver.”

Wilson said the company will more thoroughly investigate drivers in the future and work with restaurants to improve oversight.

“We take customer service seriously,” she said, noting the company has been in business since 2008 and that all calls go to the main office in Chattanooga.

Based on the 89-cent tip comment in the video, Dinner Delivered tracked down the order, which occurred Jan. 12, to a customer Wilson said the driver knew. The company issued a refund for the order.

“There’s no evidence that anyone else’s food was tampered with,” Wilson said.

April M. Pennington of Maryville told The Daily Times she sent the video to Dinner Delivered and then posted it on Facebook when the company didn’t appear to be acting on it.

Pennington said she has never met the driver but saw the video through a group chat related to a Facebook group. “This is disgusting,” she said. “I called Dinner Delivered and told them what was going on.”

Pennington said she told the company who the driver was, but the person is not seen in the video. Then she shared screenshots where the driver and Webb allegedly talk about putting eye drops in drinks.

Because she did not feel the company was dealing appropriately with the driver, Pennington said, she posted the video online Feb. 21.

Amy Beth earned her degree from West Virginia. She joined The Daily Times in 2016 on the education beat covering Alcoa, Maryville and Blount County school systems.

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