Armless, one-legged driver leads chase
Authorities were led on a high speed vehicle chase by an armless, one-legged man, and they said this wasn't the first time the 40-year-old eluded police.
Michael Francis Wiley taught himself to drive after losing both arms and a leg in an electrical accident when he was 13. He spent time in prison for kicking a Florida Highway Patrol trooper after an accident in 1996. He led police on a 120 mph chase in 1998.
On Tuesday, Wiley sped off in a Ford Explorer when police approached him at a convenience store, New Port Richey police Capt. Darryl Garman said. Officers pursued, but called off the chase after eight minutes because they did not want to put others in danger, Garman said.
Wiley was arrested the next day on charges of fleeing from police and habitually driving without a license. He also is awaiting trial on separate drug charges and traffic violations. He faces up to five years in prison if convicted.
Defense attorney John Hooker said his client has paid off previous traffic fines that got his license suspended and tried to get a new driver's license, but he was rebuffed by state officials. Wiley's license has been revoked so many times it is now a felony to drive.
"What makes him do it?" Hooker said when asked why Wiley keeps getting behind the wheel. "I think it's an urge he has that makes him feel as important and as good as anyone. It gives him a sense of self-esteem."
Hooker said he had not had a chance to talk to Wiley about the most recent charges.
Even before Wednesday's arrest, prosecutors were seeking to send Wiley to prison for at least five years for felony drug and traffic charges.
"He has a hideous record," Assistant State Attorney Mike Halkitis said after an August 2006 arrest. "It's just got to end."
Wiley was being held in the Pasco County jail on $500,000 bond.