ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – An Uber driver is sharing new videos and details exclusively with 8 On Your Side about an incident that occurred in his car April 17, when he said he was scratched, strangled and bitten by his passenger.
Michael Hassey Jr., 22, said around 5 p.m. Saturday he responded to a ride request in front of Cask Social Kitchen in Tampa.
He explained a terrifying experience from a few minutes during that car ride will stay with him for life. He said he was driving the car and nearing the passenger’s home when she began attacking him.
“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 said, recalling the day.
Hassey promised the daughter he would get her home safe, not knowing it was he who had to be worried.
Hassey said 55-year-old Michele Stilwell was asleep most of the ride until a few blocks from her home in unincorporated St. Pete. He said she “sprouted up” and became violent.
“She started screaming curse words at me and slapped me in the face,” Hassey said.
8 On Your Side watched a video from an anonymous source corroborating those facts. The passenger was screaming “My daughter!” while scratching, strangling and biting Hassey.
“She sinks into my neck like a pitbull, shaking her head and stuff,” Hassey said.
Up until the biting began, Hassey can be seen in the video with his hands up not fighting back.
“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 said.
Shortly after the biting began, Hassey was able to stop the car and break free.
In the incident report, deputies noted they believed Stilwell was intoxicated.
“It’s like reliving a horror movie,” Hassey said.
Now he just wants to know why the attack took place.
8 On Your Side went to Stilwell’s home Tuesday looking for answers.
“The big question, why did the attack happen on Saturday?” McLarty said through the door.
“Uber has not done a single thing or communicated with me about this incident,” Hassey said.
Hassey said he’s called Uber and reached out to them multiple times in the past few days but is extremely disappointed. He said no one has reached out.
8 On Your Side reached out on his behalf Tuesday and did receive a response.
An 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.”
“My biggest takeaway is I would stay away from Uber,” said Hassey.
A welder by trade, Hassey said for him, driving Uber just isn’t worth the extra cash after this incident.
Stilwell was booked her into jail on two felony charges of aggravated battery and tampering with a witness. She has since bonded out.
Her neighbors said the attack was out of character for their neighbor who they say is a nurse. The Department of Health does have a woman by her name with an active nursing license.