A shocking video surfaced this week of a woman attacking an Uber driver from the back seat. In the video, this older woman is seen biting, choking, and hitting her young, male driver. The driver is trying to push her off and does not appear to try to hurt her back.
According to the driver, the woman’s child called the Uber for her, and she was asleep for most of the ride. However, the woman, Michelle Stilwell, 55, started awake midway through the ride and started attacking her driver, Michael Hassey, seemingly for no reason.
Hassey said he tried to call 911 once she became violent, but she took his phone and threw it out of his hand.
The video was filmed by an anonymous witness to WFLA shows the Stilwell leaning over the middle console, choking the driver from behind. The driver can be heard in the video crying out “I can’t breathe,” and “I did nothing wrong.”
Witnesses jumped in to help Hassey once they realized what was happening. They pulled her off of him, and he was able to get out of the vehicle and take the keys while witnesses called 911.
The arrest report states that responding officers believe she was drunk, which is pretty understandable seeing her behavior in the video.
The Uber was requested by Stilwell’s daughter, and it’s unclear as to why she didn’t request it herself. It’s possible that Stilwell had previously been banned from the app, and that’s why she was unable to use her own phone to request it. It’s also possible that she was unfamiliar with the app, but her daughter wanted her to get home safely in her intoxicated state.
Uber has a quick button to make a call to 911 located within the app. This button is easily accessible within the app for safety reasons. However, Hassey was unable to call for help because Stilwell had thrown the phone out of his hand.
A recent study showed that in accidents regarding Ubers, the drivers most often were the ones who had injuries. While Uber provides insurance coverage in the event of a car accident, it’s unclear how they will act following an incident like this, especially since Hassey does not have any major physical injuries.
Having a personal injury attorney in Newport Beach on hand is essential if you are an Uber driver. You can’t trust that you will be taken care of following an attack from a rider. Contact one of the Uber accident lawyers in Newport Beach if you have any questions about getting compensation from a rideshare incident.