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Motorist beaten by Detroit mob remains in critical condition

By Corey Williams

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 03:31 p.m. HST, Apr 04, 2014

DETROIT » As Steve Utash lies in a Detroit hospital bed, with his brain swollen and a gash in his head, he appears to remember the brutal beating that a neighborhood mob inflicted days earlier.

"He wakes up and his arms start struggling and he says, 'Help me! Help me!" said Terry Emerick, a family friend.

Utash remained in critical condition Friday — two days after accidentally hitting a 10-year-old boy with his company pickup on Detroit's east side and being pummeled by at least a half-dozen people after stopping to check on the child.

The mob left the 54-year-old tree trimmer from suburban Detroit on the pavement outside a gas station.

No arrests had been made Friday, and police officers continued to canvass the neighborhood looking for witnesses who can identify any suspects in the beating, Sgt. Michael Woody said.

A grainy, surveillance video from the gas station camera shows the boy, David Harris, with a group of friends as he steps from a curb into the truck's path Wednesday afternoon. Woody said investigators don't have video footage of the attack on Utash.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said Friday that Utash did "the right thing by stopping to check on the boy" and that anyone who can identify his attackers should step forward.

"This senseless vigilante style attack is not the essence of who we are as Detroiters and will not be tolerated," Duggan said in a joint statement with City Council President Brenda Jones.

The boy's uncle, Desmond Key, said Thursday that the family does not know any of the attackers. He said family members rushed to the scene after one of the boy's friends ran home and told them about the accident. Key said he saw six to seven guys punching and kicking the pickup driver as he tried to fight back.

Emerick, whose son is married to one of Utash's daughters, said Friday that Utash's paycheck was taken during the beating and equipment was stolen from the truck. Woody said police cannot confirm that Utash was robbed.

Utash lives northwest of Detroit in Clinton Township and occasionally has tree-trimming jobs in Detroit.

Those who know Utash are upset over the beating and concerned about his recovery.

"It's just pathetic that an accident would happen and everyone would gang up on him like that," Emerick said. "It's really ridiculous. The whole neighborhood jumps on him and beats the hell out of him. What prompts people to do heinous crimes like that?"

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st1d wrote:
not going to hear a word from sharpton, jackson or obama on this one. not a word.
on April 4,2014 | 02:29PM
serious wrote:
Correct, Obama will not ask them over for a beer. Detroit, South Chicago, Miami at night--never. Can't see 'em. "They had a bad childhood."
on April 4,2014 | 03:21PM
handsomeguy wrote:
serious...you forgot to include Newark after 5...but not the "Down Neck" Portuguese part of town.
on April 4,2014 | 04:49PM
kolohepalu wrote:
Count on wingnuts to tie this to Obama. Pathetic.
on April 4,2014 | 07:38PM
kolohepalu wrote:
But of course you're not prejudiced, right?
on April 4,2014 | 07:37PM
st1d wrote:
just a prophetic observation highlighting the lack of consistency of the three individuals who are presently silent on this incident who quickly and loudly prejudge in other incidents.
on April 4,2014 | 09:30PM
false wrote:
Animals of Detroit. Eastside Detroit is , you guessed it.
on April 4,2014 | 02:48PM
kolohepalu wrote:
Black. And Hawai'i is mostly brown. If you judge by color-coding, you should move.
on April 4,2014 | 07:40PM
MakaniKai wrote:
st1d wrote: not going to hear a word from sharpton, jackson or obama on this one. not a word - That is because this crime is probably Black on Black or the victim was White and they gain nothing from chiming in.
on April 4,2014 | 03:50PM
HD36 wrote:
Not only did black guys beat him so bad he has an acute subdural hematoma, but they also stole his wallet. Hiis daughter said they don't have insurance. Even though it was the kid's fault , it's only been reported so far in one small news agency that Utash is white, although I think most assumed he was because it's doubtful the mob would have beaten half to death their own kind. The Obama driven media frenzy over the Travon Martin incident has got more "folks" thinking they're always being victimized without justice so they gotta take matters into their own hands.
on April 4,2014 | 08:07PM
kailua000 wrote:
are the boys parents going to come out against it? it was not a hit and run, he stopped to help their child. Why are the parents not coming out saying the beating was wrong and that it was an accident?
on April 5,2014 | 02:51AM
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