A gas station employee helped rescue a woman from a La Crosse man who had assaulted and planned to kill her, according to court records.

The victim said Gregory Simmons, 30, punched and strangled her inside his car early Sunday before telling her, ā€œIā€™m going to make you suffer all night,ā€ according to the complaint filed in La Crosse County Circuit Court.

He forced her from the car to his apartment at 1243 Green Bay St. with his hand covering her mouth to stop her from screaming.

Inside the apartment, the woman said she felt sex with Simmons was her only option to escape safely, according to the complaint. He later told her that he was taking her to southeastern Wisconsin, where he would force her to work as a prostitute before killing her, according to the complaint.

They stopped at the Kwik Trip at 4605 Mormon Coulee Road about 10:45 p.m., when the woman was able to discretely alert an employee that she was being held against her will. The employee hid her in a walk-in cooler and called police.

Prosecutors charged Simmons with second-degree sexual assault, strangulation, false imprisonment and misdemeanor battery, all as a repeat offender. He is jailed on a $25,000 cash bond.