1 April 2023 | 11:40 am
Five Cheesecake Factory employees overdosed last month in Hackensack, New Jersey.
Five NJ Cheesecake Factory workers who accidentally overdosed on fentanyl-laced cocaine in the parking lot of an upscale mall in Hackensack were playing “Russian Roulette”[ads1]; with their lives, a colleague told The Post this week.
The Cheesecake Factory, who requested anonymity, said the drug use in the lower-level parking lot is so “depressing” that he now leaves his car in another area.
Michelle Edoo, 29, of Bergenfield, died three days after she and four female Cheesecake Factory employees ingested fentanyl-laced cocaine in the lower-level parking lot of The Shops at Riverside, authorities said.
The mall includes stores such as Saks, Bloomingdale’s and Bottega Veneta.
The other four mall workers, who have not been identified, survived the March 15 incident.
“It shook me,” the anonymous colleague said, noting that workers usually congregate on the lower parking level where the women overdosed. “It’s like playing Russian roulette today. You don’t know what’s in half.”
“There are so many different stories” about what happened, he added, noting that he has not seen the four survivors since the incident.
The group of friends thought they were ingesting cocaine and were unaware that a dangerous amount of the opioid fentanyl had been added, the prosecutor’s office in Bergen has said.
A frequent visitor to the Hackensack Mall claimed that there is constant drug use in the lower level of the parking garage.
“We always complain about it when we’re down there,” claimed the visitor.
The restaurant manager declined to comment.
Good Samaritan Aaron Kim, 30, was working out at a mall gym when he saw the chaos in the parking lot and rushed to help, he said.
“They obviously weren’t breathing and they didn’t have a pulse,” he said.
Kim, who left as first responders took over, gave high praise to an unidentified nurse who “knew exactly what to do and took control of the situation.”
Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office will not comment on the “ongoing investigation”.
Michelle Edoo’s mother Natasha refused to say how her daughter died.
“This is a private time. It’s very sad,” she told The Post, adding: “Fortunately, Michelle was able to help other people. Her organs were donated to four people.”
A Gofundme for Edoo’s daughter has raised nearly $9,000.