A woman who was being held hostage saved herself and her three children with a little help from the Pizza Hut app on her phone. On Monday afternoon in Avon Park, Florida, Cheryl Treadway and her three children were held hostage at knife point by her former boyfriend Ethan Nickerson. Treadway was trapped in her home by Nickerson, desperately seeking a way out of the situation. Thinking on her feet, Tereadway convinced Nickerson to let her order a pizza from the Pizza Hut app.
Public Information Officer Nell Hays for the Highland County Sheriffs office said in statement, “She told him, ‘The kids are hungry. Let’s order a pizza. Let’s get them some food.'” Luckily, he obliged, and Treadyway went about making her order for one large classic pepperoni pizza. In the app, customers can add additional details or instructions. This is usually where one would add their gate code or notify drivers of a tricky street address. Instead Treadway wrote, “Please help. Get 911 to me,” as well as, “911hostage help!”
Pizza Hut got the message, and thanks to the manager on duty, the woman was identified as a frequent customer, and help was sent to Treadway’s address.
“I’ve been with the company for 28 years and I’ve never seen nothing like that ever,” Pizza Hut Manager Candy Hamilton told ABC News. “We didn’t even question it, we immediately called 911.”
After arriving at the house, the door was opened by Treadway and one of her children. “She comes running toward us, but two kids are still in the house with a person who’s on narcotics, and you don’t know their mindset with a knife, and we need to get them out,” said Lt. Curtis Ludden of the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office, according to WTSP.
In another stroke of luck, Lt. Ludden happened to be the lead negotiator and head of the crisis division. With the two other children still inside the home, it took Lt. Ludden 20 minutes to convince Nickerson to surrender peacefully. Nickerson was high on methamphetamine and has been charged with aggravated assault with a weapon without intent to kill, battery, false imprisonment, and obstruction of justice.
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