A video has gone viral of a Florida woman choking her Uber driver before taking a bite out of his neck. The incident took place Saturday in St. Petersburg, near Tampa.
The Uber driver, Michael Hassey Jr, 22, picked up Michele Stilwell, 55, that afternoon. During the drive, Stilwell fell asleep.
However, she woke up and immediately attacked Hassey.
Hassey spoke with local news WFLA 8 to relay the harrowing situation.
He described the day:
"When I first pulled up to pick up the rider, a young group of women approached the car and one of them said 'I called an Uber for my mother, can you please get her home safe?'"
Hassey promised the young woman that he would, and Stilwell was loaded into the vehicle. She slept for most of the ride, until just a few blocks from her home.
It was then that Stilwell woke up and attacked Hassey.
Stilwell wrapped her hands around Hassey's neck from the back seat. The driver pulled over and tried to get away, but Stilwell continued the attack, crawling forward and biting into Hassey's neck and scratched his chest.
"She started screaming curse words at me and slapped me in the face. She sinks into my neck like a pitbull, shaking her head and stuff."
It's unknown what set Stilwell off.
The driver tried to call 9-1-1, but the phone was knocked out of his hand during the attack.
Hassey kept his hands off Stilwell during the attack, claiming he was raised to never hit a woman. However, he now feels like because of that, he "let it happen."
Witnesses were able to pull Stilwell off of Hassey until the police arrived on the scene. Records show they believe Stilwell was intoxicated during the attack but other details are scarce.
Being asked to remember everything that happened is difficult for Hassey, who said:
"It's like reliving a horror movie."
The other entity that Hassey blames for this incident and the fallout is Uber. The driver has tried to reach out to the company multiple times over the attack, and they've ignored him.
When the local news contacted Uber, they received a response.
"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."
However, that is little comfort to Hassey now. For him, Uber was a bit of side cash, but now he feels it isn't worth the risk.
"My biggest takeaway is I would stay away from Uber."
John "Wear a Mask 😷 Moron" Grossund (@ 🏡) on Twitter
Stilwell's neighbors have said this attack was out of character for the woman. They've also said they believe she is a nurse, which state records confirm.
She was taken to jail on felony charges of battery and tampering with a witness. She has since bonded out.