The parents of a 2-year-old were shocked when a chef at a Japanese restaurant in Ohio allegedly squirted sake into the mouth of their toddler.
Karl Preusser Sr. and Brittany Winter were having dinner at the Wasabi Restaurant, a hibachi style restaurant in North Canton, when Mingyang Zhu, 26, allegedly gave their child Karl — or KJ — a “mouthful” of alcohol at the table.
According to police Zhu admitted to giving KJ alcohol, but said it was an accident and he meant only to pretend to squirt sake at the toddler.
Reached for comment, a manager at the Wasabi Restaurant would say only that the incident “was a mistake.”
Winter disagrees with the manager’s assessment and believes the Zhu did it intentionally. “It wasn’t a mistake, I know that,” Winter says.
After giving adults at the table a free sample of sake with a squirt from a plastic squeeze bottle, Zhu turned to KJ. Mimicking the adults, KJ opened his mouth and Zhu squeezed off a shot of sake into the boy’s mouth.
“It wasn’t a little drip. It was a mouthful,” said Winter.
“By the time I really realized what was going on it was done and over,” said Winter, who immediately took KJ away from the table. “I was so mad I couldn’t even look at him. I didn’t say anything at all.”
Winter says KJ’s eyes started watering and he spit up most of the alcohol.
Winter and Preusser immediately went to the police who arrested Zhu that evening. He is now being charged with furnishing an intoxicating liquor to a minor.
Although KJ suffered no lasting damage, Winter says the incident is still affecting him. “He talks about it all the time,” said Winter. “He’ll just open his mouth and just say mean, mean.”