Lavinia Kelly, 33, a mother of three children, purchased nacho cheese sauce from the Valley Oak Food and Fuel Gas Station in Sacramento, leading to her suffering with botulism. She is barely able to breathe without assistance or speak after having been hospitalized with the rare food poisoning three weeks ago, leading to her wishing to seek legal action against the gas station.

Blasting News reported on the story of several people suffering from botulism after purchasing – and consuming – a nacho cheese sauce from the Walnut Grove gas station in Sacramento, Calif.

The California Department of Public Health is reportedly investigating 10 cases of people suffering botulism. All patients remain hospitalized with the rare form of food poisoning. Authorities have tied the infections to a nacho cheese sauce served at the gas station in question, but are still investigating the cause of the food poisoning.

Lavinia Kelly stopped for a snack at the gas station

According to Kelly’s partner, Ricky Torres, she was on her way home from work on April 21. She decided to pull into the gas station to buy a snack from the small market. Torres said she bought a bag of Doritos chips, liberally drizzling the chips with the nacho cheese sauce. It was only hours before Kelly started feeling fatigued.

The next morning Kelly reportedly suffered double vision and headed to the Sutter Medical Center, but was released some hours later. Torres said that evening, Kelly started vomiting and began to have difficulty breathing. He then rushed her back to the medical center's emergency room.

Kelly unable to open her eyes due to botulism

After doctors ventilated Kelly, she was then admitted to the intensive care unit with botulism, where she remains to this day.

According to Torres, her motor control system is so badly affected by the neurotoxins that she struggles to even open her eyes. Torres said that if she wants to see visitors in the room, he and family members have to sometimes tape her eyes open.

He added that her loved ones and trying to work out how this could have happened, saying that most of his time in the hospital is spent trying to get answers. While Kelly is doing well, they cannot understand how Doritos and nacho cheese sauce could do this to her. Torres added that the gas station handles the product every day.

As reported by ABC 7, Kelly’s sister Theresa recalls receiving the emergency phone call from her sister Lavinia when she was first affected by botulism.

When she answered the call, Kelly could barely articulate.

Gas station’s food and drink permit revoked

When the news broke of the botulism outbreak earlier in the month, authorities temporarily revoked the business’ permit to sell food and drink. The Sacramento Bee attempted to get comment from employees at the gas station without success and reporters were unable to contact Valley Oak Food and Fuel by phone on Tuesday.

Lawsuit filed against Valley Oak Food and Fuel Tuesday

Kelly’s family filed the lawsuit in Sacramento County Superior Court Tuesday. Bruce Clark, the attorney of the food safety law firm Marler Act is acting for Kelly. He said most outbreaks of botulism are caused by home canning, saying the incident at the gas station store is a rare occurrence.

Clark added that it is human mistakes that create an environment for the botulinum toxin to form. He then said the source of the nacho cheese sauce is may not directly relate to the gas station as it could be a pre-packaged product.

Botulism cases normally lead to million dollar payouts

While lawyers have yet to estimate the damages sought by the family, past botulism cases have seen payments running into millions of dollars. Clark said the Kelly family is racking up huge medical bills.