Alleah Taylor, the 27-year-old woman whom former Seahawk Chad Wheeler stands accused of assaulting in Kent last month, said in a “CBS This Morning” interview Wednesday morning she will have to deal with some of her injuries for “the rest of my life.’’
“I still have to regularly get my concussion checked,’’ Taylor said in the interview. “I have bolts and a steel plate I’m going to have forever in my arm. I’m going to have to deal with this the rest of my life.”
Wheeler, a backup offensive tackle who has been waived by the Seahawks, was later charged with first-degree assault domestic violence, a Class A felony. Wheeler was also charged with unlawful imprisonment domestic violence and resisting arrest.
Wheeler pleaded not guilty to all three charges earlier this month and has a trial scheduled to start April 6. He was released from jail after posting $400,000 bail.
In what was her first public interview, Taylor said the two had been dating for about six months when the attack occurred on the night of Jan. 22. Wheeler came to Seattle midway through the 2019 season with the Seahawks and played in five games as a reserve in 2020.
“We were like best friends,’’ she said. “We did everything together. I even introduced him to my family. We would babysit my nephew together.’’
Taylor said she became alarmed when she got a text from Wheeler earlier that day saying he had shaved his hair.
“He loved, just loved his long hair,’’ Taylor said. “Refused to cut it. And then, it surprised me and it worried me. I came home, and Chad was trying to play it off as if he kind of just cut his hair. But then as time went on throughout the day, he started going downhill emotionally.’’
Wheeler, who began his career with the Giants in 2017 and 2018, later said via Twitter he was suffering from a manic episode. He has said he will no longer play and is getting treatment for his bi-polar disorder.
In the CBS interview, Taylor said she knew Wheeler suffered from bi-polar disorder, and that night he snapped into a dark place.
“He stood up and he told me to bow down, and I asked him why and he didn’t respond,’’ Taylor said. “He just told me to bow down again. I told him no and he immediately grabbed my neck and that’s when things began.’’
Taylor recalled the 6-7, 310-pound Wheeler then grabbed her neck and threw her on a bed. Taylor was listed at 5-9, 145 pounds in police reports.
“I remember looking up at him and asking him, ‘Please stop, Chad. It’s me,’’’ Taylor said in the interview. “And I just immediately knew the look in his eyes that was it.’’
Taylor said she blacked out twice.
“I had touched my face and I looked down and there was blood on my hand and I remember getting up and running to the bathroom,’’ she said. “Chad was standing by the bed, by the doorway, and he was sipping his smoothie and was like ‘Wow, you’re still alive.’’’
Audio played of Taylor’s 911 call, in which she said, “Please help me now. I’m going to die.”
Taylor said she made the call after locking herself in a bathroom and also texting her family and Wheeler’s for help.
Police stated Wheeler initially resisted their commands and it took three officers to restrain him, though he was reported to have continually apologized during the arrest.
Asked if she felt the attack was due solely to Wheeler’s bi-polar disorder, Taylor replied: “To be honest, I don’t know. He went and ate dinner after doing this to me. And he didn’t take the same approach with the cops as he did with me.”
Taylor appeared in court earlier this month when Wheeler was arraigned in Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent, with a statement by her read by a domestic violence advocate.
Taylor told CBS News she felt it important to appear to show Wheeler that he didn’t have that power over her and she could defend herself.
“And I thought, ‘How easy would that be for him and his legal team to be able to say whatever they want without having to look me in the eye?’’’ she said.
Taylor said she is speaking out to bring awareness to domestic violence issues, saying she feels she has gotten “another chance’’ in life by surviving the attack.
Wheeler faces 8-12 years in prison and Taylor said she feels Wheeler should “definitely’’ get time.
“I have to say the hardest part of all this wasn’t the surgeries, it wasn’t any of that,’’ she said. “It was getting a call from my niece and nephews. They thought they had lost me. And the pain in their voice, I will never forget that. I will never forget that.”