Michele Stilwell was arrested and charged with aggravated battery
Michael Hassey Jr., 22, was driving his Uber in St. Petersburg, near Tampa, on Saturday when he picked up passenger Michele Stilwell, 55.
He says Stilwell fell asleep in his car while he was driving, but then suddenly woke up and lunged 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.
Hassey pulled over and tried to get away, but Stilwell crawled forward onto the center console, and bit ‘deeply’ into his neck and scratched his chest.
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 the Florida TV news station 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 she was under the influence of alcohol but didn’t elaborate.
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Michele Stilwell, 55, allegedly strangled Uber driver Michael Hassey, Jr., 22, during an unprovoked attacked in St. Petersburg, Florida on Saturday. Pictures of the attack were taken by passersby
Stilwell allegedly reached forward from the back passenger-side seat and wrapped both of her hands around Hassey’s neck. Hassey managed to record footage of the encounter
Stilwell crawled forward onto the center console, and bit ‘deeply’ into Hassey’s neck and scratched his chest, police said
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.
He told the Florida TV station 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.’
He also described the event as ’emotionally traumatizing’, and said he was seeking a psychologist.
When Hassey tried to escape, Stilwell allegedly crawled into the front of the car and continued the attack.
His panicked cries for help were heard by passersby, who rushed to his aid and pulled the woman off him, according to the police report.
Hassey told WFLA8 that he reached out to Uber multiple times since the attack but hasn’t heard back.
He said his takeaway from this ordeal is to ‘stay away from Uber’ because driving for extra cash isn’t worth risking his life.
An Uber spokesperson told the Florida news station, ‘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.
The DailyMail.com has contacted Uber, Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Department of Health for comment.