Woman held hostage uses Pizza Hut app to save her family: ‘Get 911 to me’


A quick-witted Florida woman who used Pizza Hut’s ordering app to free herself from a hostage situation has proven that sending out for pizza could be a life-saver.

Cheryl Treadway, 25, was allegedly held inside a residence by her knife-wielding boyfriend for much of Monday, according to the Highlands County Sheriff’s Office.

At one point, Treadway attempted to leave the home to pick up her three children from school.

Her boyfriend, Ethan Nickerson, 26, who deputies believe may have been high on crystal meth at the time, grabbed her, took away her smartphone, and accompanied her to the children’s school.

When Treadway returned to the residence with her kids, she was able to convince Nickerson to let her use her phone to order food through Pizza Hut’s smartphone ordering app. He took it back immediately after the order was placed.

What he didn’t know was that Treadway included a special message in the “comments” section of her order.

“911hostage help!” it read.

A copy of the order as it appeared when it was printed at the Pizza Hut in Avon Park, Fla., was obtained by local NBC affiliate WFLA.

The receipt shows that Treadway also wrote, “Please help. Get 911 to me” in the customer name section of the order form.

WFLA reports that employees at the restaurant recognized the address belonged to a regular customer. Alarmed by the unusual comments, they called the police.

“We’ve never seen that before,” the Pizza Hut location’s manager, Candy Hamilton, told WFLA. “I’ve been here 28 years and never, never seen nothing like that come through.”

“I was kinda scared. I was scared for the person,” chef Alonia Hawk, who first saw the message come through, told Tampa CBS affiliate 10News.

A sheriff’s department release states that deputies were dispatched to both Pizza Hut and the delivery location. When they arrived at the home where Treadway was being held, she came out of it with a child in her arms and told them that Nickerson was still inside with a knife and her two other kids.

Ethan Earl Nickerson was arrested and charged after police were sent to investigate the address listed on his girlfriend’s pizza order. (Highlands County Sheriff’s Office )

Nickerson spoke with a lieutenant through the home’s door for 20 minutes before coming out peacefully and allowing officers to remove the children.

He was subsequently 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.

“His first words were, of course, ‘I’m not coming out because I know I’m going to jail,'” said Lt. Curtis Ludden, who commended Treadway for finding a way to alert the authorities without jeopardizing her own safety.

Ludden was also impressed with how Treadway used the app to get help for her family.

“I don’t know if I ever would have thought of it. I mean it’s just something that she did so naturally,” he said.
“The boyfriend never knew about it until he saw us coming around the corner.”


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