Pizza Hut Saves Hostage Woman and Children

Pizza HutPizza Hut saves the day for a woman and her three children proving the quote “there is an app for that” to be true. Cheryl Treadway placed an online order for a hand-tossed pizza with Pizza Hut’s app and included a secret cry for help. Pizza Hut employees quickly recognized the woman as a frequent customer and contact the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office.

On Monday afternoon, the quick-thinking woman saved herself and her children from a potentially dangerous situation when she placed the order and included the following message in the comments section of the online order:

Please help! Get 911 to me. 911 hostage help.

Reportedly, after the order for pizza was placed, Treadway’s boyfriend, Ethan Earl Nickerson, who had confiscated her phone previously demanded the cell phone be returned to him. He had no knowledge that his girlfriend had already sent a plea for help. According to law enforcement Nickerson only realized it when he saw officers coming around the corner.

The secret message alarmed Pizza Hut’s employees. Candy Hamilton, Avon Park’s store manager, said in 28 years she had never seen anything like this come through an order before. The message was initially spotted by the chef, Alonia Hawk, who said she immediately felt something was really wrong and was afraid for the person.

According to police, they were greeted at the door upon arrival by Treadway,who was holding one of her children. Lieutenant Curtis Ludden said she came running towards the officers and said her boyfriend refused to allow them to leave the home and was holding them hostage with a knife. Ludden also stated, officers suspected Nickerson may have been high on methamphetamine.

Pizza Hut

Treadway told officers that she and Nickerson were arguing earlier that day and he made threats of hurting her with a knife. When the time came to pick her children up from school, Nickerson insisted on going with her and took Treadway’s phone away from her. Sometime after they returned home with the children this savvy mother persuaded her boyfriend to return her phone so she could order a pizza for them to eat.

The strategic mom not only ordered a pizza but sent a message to alert the restaurant that she was in danger. Her message ultimately brought the police to her home; Hostage negotiator Ludden was the first to arrive. Treadway and her young child were immediately taken to safety while the other two children remained inside the home with their father. Armed with a knife, Nickerson refused to answer the door and allow officers entry to the home.

The knife-wielding 26-year-old had barricaded himself inside for nearly 20 minutes before Ludden could persuade him to surrender. Nickerson was arrested and charged with obstructing justice by depriving communication to law enforcement, false imprisonment, battery and aggravated assault with a weapon without intent to kill.

Cheryl Treadway is thankful to Pizza Hut for saving her and her three children. Ludden, however, credits this triumphant mother who discreetly sent a message for help. He is not sure if he would have ever thought of doing that as Treadway, according to Ludden, did it so naturally.

by Cherese Jackson (Virginia)


Washington Post

Photo Credits:

Top Image Courtesy of Daniel Oines – Creativecommons Flickr License
Featured Image Courtesy of Joe Monin – Creativecommons Flickr License

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