ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (WFLA) – Newly obtained witness video is revealing new details about a shocking weekend attack on an Uber driver in St. Petersburg.
8 On Your Side spoke with the Uber driver earlier this week about the incident that occurred in his car on April 17, when he said he was scratched, strangled and bitten by his passenger.
We warn you, the below full 3-minute video is difficult to watch. Hassey said this is only the last three minutes of the attack, he says it started about five minutes before this recording began.
In the video, 55-year-old Michele Stilwell can be seen with her hands around the driver’s neck screaming “Die!” while the driver, Michael Hassey Jr., said “I can’t breathe! I’m just your Uber driver, I’m just your Uber driver.”
Hassey says the terrifying experience will stay with him for life.
“I’ve never been that scared in my whole entire life, I thought I was going to die,” Hassey said recalling the incident days later.
Police arrested Stillwell on two felony charges of aggravated battery and tampering with a witness. A police report indicates Stilwell could have been drunk.
“My daughter, my daughter!” Stilwell can be heard screaming in the video.
Hassey said Stilwell’s daughter called the Uber ride for her mom asking him to get her home safe. Not knowing that he was the one that would need protection.
Hassey said Stilwell mostly slept the first 20 minutes of the ride, then he said she began strangling, scratching and even biting him like a “pitbull.”
In the video you can hear bystanders scream “Stop biting him!”
Now, Hassey wants to know why she attacked him.
8 On Your Side went to Stilwell’s home Tuesday looking for answers. On Wednesday, a man answered the door with tears in his eyes, identifying himself as Rob Stilwell, Michele’s husband.
“She doesn’t really remember anything, that’s all I can say right now,” said Rob Stilwell.
He claimed his wife doesn’t remember anything for three to four hours, until she woke up in the hospital.
As for Hassey, he says he would just like to hear from Uber. He feels they haven’t done enough to show they’re concerned about driver safety.
“I’m beyond disappointed in Uber,” Hassey said.
An Uber spokesperson said they can’t give us statements to answer our specific questions of “What is Uber doing to protect drivers?” and “What is Uber doing for this specific driver?”
An Uber spokesperson went on to send 8 On Your Side links to information about how the company is run and said Uber is committed to the safety of drivers with features like an Emergency Button and GPS tracking.
The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office has advice for all rideshare drivers.
“With an attack, you want to get the car stopped and get away from the driver as quickly as possible,” said Deputy Chuck Skipper.
Hassey said at a minimum he wishes someone from Uber would call him to make sure he’s okay.