Probation In Choke, Chomp Of Uber Driver

Female passenger avoids jail for bloody attack

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Uber Bite Plea

NOVEMBER 29--A female passenger who choked and took a chomp out of the neck of an Uber driver today pleaded guilty to a pair of criminal charges in connection with the bloody, unprovoked attack, according to court records.

In a plea deal, Michele Stilwell copped to battery and disorderly conduct, misdemeanors for which she was sentenced to 18 months probation. Stilwell, seen at right, was originally charged in a criminal information with battery and witness tampering, a felony.

Stilwell, a licensed practical nurse, was also fined $850, directed to undergo a mental health evaluation, and ordered to have no contact with Michael Hassey, the 23-year-old victim.

As reported in criminal complaints, Stilwell attacked Hassey from behind as he drove his Toyota near Stilwell’s St. Petersburg residence in mid-April.

While the car was moving, Stilwell “reached forward and proceeded to choke the victim from behind,” according to a sheriff’s deputy. As seen above, Stilwell initially choked Hassey with two hands before wrapping an arm around his throat.

As Hassey sought to pull over the car, Stilwell “managed to crawl forward onto the center console...and bite the victim deeply on the neck drawing blood.” She then scratched Hassey across the chest, “causing a large red in color mark with traces of blood visible.”

Photos taken by witnesses--who stepped in to stop the attack--show Stilwell choking Hassey and splayed across the Toyota’s driver’s seat. Another image shows the bite mark on Hassey’s neck.

While police and court records do not cite a motive for the Saturday afternoon attack, arrest affidavits note that Stilwell displayed an “indication of alcohol influence.” (2 pages)