Michele Stilwell St Petersburg woman chokes, bites Uber driver in unprovoked attack. Michael Hassey Jr part time app driver left traumatized.
Michael Hassey Jr., 22, was driving his Uber in St. Petersburg, near Tampa, on Saturday night when he picked up passenger Michele Stilwell, 55.
He says Stilwell fell asleep in his car while he was driving, only to suddenly wake up and lunge at him.
Stilwell reached forward from the back passenger-side seat and wrapped both of her hands around his neck, according to a police report — which identified the woman as a nurse.
Hassey pulled over and tried to get away, only for Stilwell to bite the app driver, ‘deeply’ into his neck and scratch his chest, causing the man to bleed.
‘I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe.’
She ‘continued to bite, strangle and claw at the victim, who was unable to defend himself,’ police said in their arrest report.
Stilwell’s neighbors told WFLA8 that the attack was out of character for their neighbor.
In Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office‘s report, the arresting officers checked a box indicating Stilwell was under the influence of alcohol but didn’t elaborate. The attack was described as occurring 5pm, Saturday night.
Hassey said in an interview with WFLA8 that he picked Stilwell up from Cask Social Kitchen in Tampa, after being called by a group of younger women who said she was their mother.
He said Stilwell was asleep for most of the ride to her home in St. Petersburg, but suddenly ‘sprouted up’ and attacked while screaming, ‘My daughter.’
‘She started screaming curse words at me and slapped me in the face,’ Hassey told WFLA8. ‘She sinks into my neck like a pitbull, shaking her head and stuff.’
She knocked the phone from his hand when he tried to call the police, and he was screaming that he couldn’t breathe.
Hassey said that he didn’t fight back because he didn’t want to hit a woman.
He said: ‘I let it happen. I didn’t put my hands back on her because I have two sisters and I was raised to never put my hands on a female.’
Hassey also described the event as ’emotionally traumatizing’, and said he was seeking a psychologist.
The man’s cries for help were heard by passersbys, who rushed to his aid and pulled the woman off him, according to the police report.
Hassey said he has reached out to Uber multiple times since the attack but hasn’t heard back.
Hassey advises to ‘stay away from Uber’ because driving for extra cash isn’t worth risking his life.
Uber has since reached out to Hassey and is working with law enforcement in the investigation according to the dailymail.
A Uber spokesperson said, ‘What’s been described is disturbing. Violence of any kind is not tolerated on the Uber app, and we immediately removed the rider’s access as soon as this was reported to us.’
Stilwell, a registered nurse in Florida since 1996, was arrested and charged with aggravated battery and tampering with a witness, both felonies, and released on $15,000 bond.