It's funny -- I'm about 30 min from where this happened, I watch the news regularly, yet I first heard about this on Xegonybard!
I googled this guy's name -- tons of news stories. It's the titles of them that my twisted mind finds humorous -- "Michael Francis Wiley is a Hot Bitch", "End of the Road for the Armless Driver", "Florida's Armless Driver, Now Facing Prison, Says He'll Turn in Keys", and perhaps my favorite one: "Stump driving".
Here's a follow up story (but it still doesn't explain how he kicked the FHP). You can see what he looks like -
He doesn't sound like a BAD person -- just someone trying to deal w/ the very difficult challenges he's faced with for a long time. But.....still don't want to be on the same roads he's driving on! http://www.theledger.com/article/200708 ... 30365/1134
Published Friday, August 3, 2007
Armless Driver: The White Flag Is Up
Michael Wiley faces judge today for sentencing on half-dozen felony traffic and drug charges.
By PHIL DAVIS
The Associated Press
ZACH BOYDEB-HOLMES/ST. PETERSBURG TIMES (2006)
Michael Wiley demonstrates how he drives in the driveway of his Port Richey home. Wiley, who lost both arms and a leg in a 1980 electrical accident, taught himself to drive using his stumps toes and teeth.
LAND O' LAKES - There was a time when nothing could keep Michael Francis Wiley from behind the wheel - not even a triple amputation that makes simple tasks like tying a shoe impossible. Nor the police, who busted Wiley so many times it is now a felony for him to drive.
Wiley lost both arms and a leg in an electrical accident and taught himself to drive using his stumps, toes and teeth. But now he is at the end of the road: he is scheduled to face a judge today for sentencing on a half-dozen felony traffic and drug possession charges. It's the latest in more than two decades of clashes with the law, and prosecutors are asking for five years in prison.
"I'm beat. The white flag is up," said Wiley, 40, from the Pasco County Jail. "You can only bang your head against the wall so long before it hurts."
He has been locked up without bail since he led police on a high-speed chase in May.
Most of Wiley's troubles can be traced back to a 1980 accident. He was 13. He fell off an elevated train platform while fooling around at an abandoned switching station in New York City. He grabbed a live electrical line to break his fall and touched metal while trying to regain his footing. Roughly 11,000 volts of electricity surged through his arms and legs.
He broke his back and injured his neck when he hit the ground 25 feet below. Doctors amputated both arms and removed most of his left leg.
Wiley now mostly lives off a settlement from the railroad company and works some odd jobs. He said he turned to drugs - prescription and illegal - to numb the chronic pain.
He learned to live without limbs. He taught himself to drive. He starts the car with his toes, shifts with his knee and steers with the stump of his left arm. He turns on the lights with his teeth.
"I'm an excellent driver," Wiley said. "It is something I can do well by myself. I've been thoroughly tested by the department of motor vehicles and I passed with flying colors."
He once had a valid license, but it has now been suspended several times since 1985, according to his lawyer. So far, that hasn't stopped him from driving.
His favorite cars are Chevrolet Corvettes and "old school Camaros." He was in a Corvette in 1998 when he led police on a chase at more than 100 mph. He kicked a Florida Highway Patrol trooper investigating a 1996 crash in which he was suspected of driving, records show.
Wiley spent more than three years in prison, where a specially trained inmate helped him eat, get dressed and handle the most basic tasks, according to the Florida Department of Corrections. He was released in June 2005 but didn't stay out of trouble long.
His 11-page Florida Department of Law Enforcement criminal history shows charges ranging from misdemeanor marijuana possession to habitually driving without a license, a felony.
"It's totally my fault. I'm just hardheaded," Wiley said of his clashes with the law.
Wiley was already facing felony charges of driving without a license May 8 when a police officer spotted him behind the wheel of a blue Ford Explorer at a New Port Richey convenience store. The officer told him to wait while he ran a license check.
Wiley put the truck in gear and sped off, according to the arrest report. Officers pursued, but called off the chase because the Ford was zipping through oncoming traffic in a "reckless" manner. Wiley was arrested the next day and charged with fleeing.
Wiley said fear of drug withdrawal is one of the reasons he fled.
"It's pretty much why I ran. The detox process gets worse every time," Wiley said.
In June, Wiley entered a no contest plea to a variety of driving and drug charges. He plans to ask the judge for mercy and hopes to get sentenced to a drug treatment program. But his lawyer, John Hooker of Tampa, said it is unlikely Wiley will avoid a prison sentence.
"It's sad to say. I just hope the system has not given up on him," Hooker said. "He hasn't hurt anyone but himself and his family."
Whatever happens, Wiley plans to go somewhere far from the publicity surrounding his driving exploits. Somewhere police and locals don't know him on sight.
"I'm not public enemy No. 1," Wily said. "I'm just a regular guy with some handicaps. I made a few mistakes. I'm sorry and I'm paying for them."