FAIRFIELD — Two former employees at Valvoline on Tunxis Hill Road — one of them the assistant manager — are facing reckless endangerment charges after they allegedly convinced a mentally handicapped co-worker to hold dry ice in his hands.

Police said on Aug. 19, Luis Santiago, the 25-year-old assistant manager at the quick oil change shop, and Jonathan Rodriguez, 28, convinced the victim to hold the dry ice in his bare hands for two minutes. In exchange, they gave him $2.

The employees had received a shipment of ice cream, packed in dry ice, as a job perk.

The victim, who was working there through a program run by Goodwill Industries, received second-degree burns on his hands. His job coach told police she did not witness the incident.

Santiago told police the victim sustained the burns when he was in the pit area and slipped and grabbed ahold of a hot exhaust pipe. The victim, however, told his brother what really happened, and his stepfather called police, requesting an investigation.

After initially going to a walk-in clinic, the victim was taken to the Burn Unit at Bridgeport Hospital. Doctors determined the burns were not caused by a hot object, but by chemicals.

Police said Santiago originally said he was not aware of the dry ice incident, but said they popped some of the blisters on the victim’s hands and bandaged them.

The reports indicate Santiago’s story changed, later telling police the victim burned his hands on dry ice, and then further damaged them when he slipped and grabbed the hot exhaust pipe.

According to police, both Santiago and Rodriguez have prior criminal records. They turned themselves in at police headquarters on Nov. 10 and were released on promises to appear in state Superior Court in Bridgeport on Nov. 17. Both live on East Main Street in Bridgeport.

greilly@cpost.com; @GreillyPost