HICKMAN COUNTY, Tenn. (WKRN) — Deputies rescued a woman from an alleged kidnapping and domestic violence situation in Tennessee Sunday after a convenience store customer noticed her discreet signal for help, according to Hickman County Sheriff’s Office officials.
The woman ran into the Twice Daily store and gave a signal with her hand by crossing her thumb over her palm and repeatedly covering her thumb with her four other fingers, witnesses said. The hand signal was made famous on the social media platform TikTok and is reportedly used to signal the need for help during a domestic violence situation.
Deputies responded to the scene and found a pickup truck leaving the parking lot as they arrived. Witnesses told deputies to follow the truck and when the deputies did, a pursuit ensued.
The pursuit lasted for around 10-15 minutes before the truck crashed in neighboring Dickson County. The driver, identified as 31-year-old Jonathan Smith, got out of the vehicle and ran before being tased and taken into custody. The woman was not injured.
Twice Daily customer Eric Streeval recalled seeing the woman enter the store and look over at him, also mouthing the word “help.” Streeval is a part of a motorcycle group that helps women in domestic violence situations. He credited the woman for reaching out.
“If you see something, say something,” Streeval said. “Domestic violence is a bad thing here in Tennessee. The victims, a lot of times they’re too afraid to speak out. And I credit the young lady in this situation with having the world’s most courage of actually speaking out because who knows what would have happened.”
Streeval said he’s since reached out to the victim on social media and hopes to put her in touch with local resources.
“I would just tell her ‘lean on family if she’s got family’, [or] ‘find a complete stranger. If someone’s willing to listen, talk to him. Don’t think everything bundled up inside. Reach out to somebody and just believe the good in somebody.'”
Smith is currently charged with aggravated kidnapping and aggravated domestic assault, with more charges pending, according to investigators.