Distressed woman passes note to gas station clerk asking for help

Published: May. 17, 2016 at 7:54 PM EDT|Updated: May. 18, 2016 at 4:18 PM EDT
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Eric Kerney (Source: LMDC)
Eric Kerney (Source: LMDC)
Janet Wilson (Source: WAVE 3 News)
Janet Wilson (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) – A tense domestic situation spilled into a gas station parking lot.

A woman in distress wrote a note asking for help and handed it to a gas station clerk. It all happened at the Thorntons in the 5300 block of Preston Highway.

According to the police report, Eric Kerney, 37, was holding his wife hostage with a knife, threatening to take her life and his own.

Clerk Janet Wilson has been helping customers for three years, but Monday was a day unlike any other.

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"This was scary," Wilson said. "When I say scary, it was scary. It was something else."

She couldn't help but notice a couple that pulled up in a green SUV. It took them awhile before they both came inside.

"They came in and went to the bathroom, but she was acting real funny and he was acting off the wall," Wilson said.

The woman came to the counter to check out, but along with her money, she passed Wilson a note.

"Please call police and call my sister and tell her I need help," Wilson said of the note.

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Wilson didn't hesitate. The victim told her that she was kidnapped by her husband. She called 911.

"They said a couple of people called before us, but they couldn't actually send anybody out until they had a location to where she was," Wilson said.

It was just a matter of minutes until police arrived and Wilson was able to capture the arrest of Eric Kerney on her cell phone.

"Eric is my son, my very first child," his mother, Karen Kerney, said. "I love him more than anything, but I want him straight."

Karen Kerney said the couple has been married about five years and has been living with her. She described their relationship as toxic.

"I'm not taking my son's side for anything because I know he's at fault, too," she said. "I know this."

She hopes this may be the wakeup call he needed.

"I want him to straighten up his life, worry about his kids," Karen Kerney said. "That's what I want him to do."

As for Wilson, she's just relived the situation ended peacefully.

"I'm glad I could help in any way, shape or fashion," she said.

Kerney is charged with unlawful imprisonment and domestic violence assault.

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