The family of the man who stopped to help a young boy after striking him with his vehicle, then was savagely beaten and left in a coma, thinks that he may be the victim of a hate crime.
54-year-old Steve Utash had struck 10-year-old David Harris with his truck. When Utash stopped to help the young boy, a mob of 10-14 people swarmed the vehicle and beat him to within inches of his life. The entire incident was caught on surveillance cameras and police have said that Utash was not at fault since the boy ran out in front of his truck.
The son of Steve Utash, Joseph, spoke to a local news station and said that he believes that his father was intentionally targeted.
“I’ve talked to one Detroit police officer and I think that, personally in my own heart, I think it was all a setup from the gate,” he told WWJ-TV, ”meaning that my dad’s been driving up and down Morang for 15, 16 years working for the same company and they know he has a job, they know he has money and they robbed him. You know, he had a bag with all his stuff in it. He showed me that he had all this money in his wallet that morning, telling me he just took the money out of the bank so he could pay his dentist.”
“As far as a hate crime, it might be,” he added. “You know, it’s like you go in Detroit and you’re white, you don’t belong. Seriously. I’ve been pulled over by police before and they’re like ‘Get back across 8 Mile,’ like I’m not supposed to be over there, like I’m not allowed to go in Detroit.”
Two teens were also arrested on Saturday morning in connection with the attack. According to Detroit police spokesman Sgt. Michael Woody the teens were 16 and 17 years old and are being held while warrants are being prepared for charges.
He’s also called on the other 10-12 people involved with the attack to turn themselves in to authorities.
“To drag this out any further is really futile,” he said. “We’re getting closer and closer. We need to put this thing to rest for the sake of the family and citizens.”
Utash remains in a coma and was beaten so badly that his family said they were nearly unable to recognize him.
According to Joseph, his father just barely survived the brutal assault.
“If it went on any longer, my dad wouldn’t be in the hospital right now, he would be in the morgue. The way he looked, I am surprised that he is alive,” he said. “He has bruising over his face, his eyes are swollen, I believe it’s his left eye that is completely swollen shut. He also has a big, huge knot on his forehead like he got hit with an object, not a fist.”
His daughter, Mandi Emerick, said that if her father awakens from the coma that his recovery will be long and painful.
“It will be months just for him to have therapy,” she said in an interview.
“We know the damage is in the frontal lobe. The doctors said he can either wake up and be fine or might need people to dress him. We’re glad he’s stable, but not knowing is still pretty nerve-racking.”
In a televised interview with Fox News this morning, Utash’s two children said that hospital fees are costing over $20,000 daily and that their father was uninsured. As of this morning they said they have raised over $100,000 from donations to help pay his medical costs. If you would like to make a donation you can do so here.
The 10-year-old boy who was hit is doing well and is expected to recover, according to his uncle.
The original report of the story is in the video below.