A woman is being credited for ending a hostage situation on Tuesday by sending a message seeking help along with her order to a Pizza Hut in Avon Park, where employees made sure help was on the way.
The order had an added comment that said a mother and her children were being held by a man, and the message was spotted by Chef Alonia Hawk.
Domestic Violence Help: CrisisCenter.com
Manager Candy Hamilton printed the order.
"It said 'Please help! Get 911 to me.' And she placed a pizza order and then down here it said, '911 hostage help," said Hamilton.
The victim, Cheryl Treadway, ordered the pizza online and typed her urgent plea in the comment box.
When Hawk saw it, she knew something was very wrong.
"I was kinda scared. I was scared for the person," said Hawk.
Hamilton recognized the victim's name and address as a frequent customer.
"We immediately called 911," said Hamilton.
Lt. Curtis Ludden, a hostage negotiator from the Highlands County Sheriff's Office, was first to arrive at the victim's home. Treadway ran out holding one of her children, but two others stayed inside with their father, Ethan Nickerson. Investigators said he was armed with a knife and wouldn't answer the door.
"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 how their mindset with a knife, and we need to get them out," said Ludden.
Treadway told deputies she had been arguing with Nickerson throughout the day.
Earlier Tuesday, Nickerson took her cell phone and demanded that he accompany Treadway to pick up her children from school. When the two returned with the children, Treadway was able to convince Nickerson to relinquish her cell phone so she could order from Pizza Hut.
SUPER BOWL AD: Woman orders pizza during domestic violence
After the order and call for help was placed, Nickerson took the cell phone back from Treadway.
Twenty minutes later, deputies got Nickerson, 26, out without incident. He was arrested and charged with aggravated assault with a weapon without intent to kill, battery, false imprisonment, and obstructing justice by depriving communication to law enforcement.
According to the media release, Chief Deputy Mark Schrader "credits the quick thinking of Cheryl Treadway, in sending the text message for help, and the efficient quick response from Lt. Ludden, Sgt. Dave Stewart, Deputy Robert Livesay and Deputy Chad Douberly; in bringing this feasibly violent situation to a peaceful conclusion."
OTHER STORIES YOU MAY BE INTERESTED IN: