The Cabarrus County Health Department is investigating after a woman said she saw roadkill being taken to a Concord restaurant over the weekend.
That woman took a picture Sunday afternoon after she saw the people in the car pick up a dead deer off the road and throw it in the back of a car.
She recognized the car from it delivering food to her home and office.
“I just couldn’t believe what I was seeing,” said the woman, who didn’t want to be identified.
She called police after the car drove behind China Fun with the roadkill in the back.
“They were backed up to the restaurant door with that dead deer in that car they use for delivery,” the witness said.
Police turned the case over to the Cabarrus County Health Department.
“We went there and found, indeed, they had slaughtered a deer, or were cutting up a dead deer in the back of the parking lot and had already brought parts inside, into the sink,” County Health Director William Pilkington said.
Channel 9 caught up with restaurant owner Sunny Chen on Wednesday, who said he was the one driving the Versa in the photos that a viewer sent in.
“I asked somebody if I could eat deer from the side of the road. He said OK,” Chen said. “But maybe it’s not OK to bring it to the restaurant, so that’s my mistake.”
Chen told reporter Joe Bruno that he stopped and picked up the deer from the side of the road.
He said his friend told him he could take the deer. Chen told Bruno he wanted it because he never had eaten deer before.
He apologizes to his customers, but said he was never going to serve the deer. It was just for him.
Chen showed Bruno the kitchen and the sink where he put the deer meat.
When asked about the wildlife investigation, Chen said they will do what they have to do.
Chen said he regrets his actions and is sorry.
“I will never do it again,” Chen said. “I wanted to cook it, eat it by myself, not to sell,” Chen said.
Eyewitness News anchor Liz Foster went to China Fun Tuesday.
“Were you guys going to serve that deer to customers?” Foster asked.
A woman at the front counter said, “No, why are you recording anyway?”
Foster then asked, “Why did your workers bring roadkill here to the restaurant?”
The woman at the front counter responded, “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
That woman claimed she had no idea about the deer incident and that the manager wasn’t there.
Pilkington told Channel 9 they made sure the carcass wasn’t cut inside the restaurant and there was no cross-contamination — that is why the restaurant remains open.
“There’s nothing that can be done at this point in terms of shutting it down because there was no threat to the public’s health,” Pilkington said.
The woman who reported the incident wants China Fun closed.
“Everyone is really upset about this, and I feel like it should be shut down,” she said.
Health inspectors have been and will continue to perform surprise visits to China Fun for several more days. They also told Channel 9 they will do more frequent inspections.
The health director couldn’t recall any previous significant complaints regarding the restaurant.
Foster called the restaurant again and asked to speak to a manager. She was told they weren’t available. She left a message but has not heard back.