Motorist beaten by mob still in critical condition

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.
AP Wire
Apr 5, 2014

"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 is recovering in a hospital from injuries that are not considered life-threatening.

His 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 6-7 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 north of Detroit in Macomb County’s Clinton Township and occasionally has tree-trimming jobs in Detroit.




Another tragic story under-reported due to the sensitive nature of the victims; those being the attackers who are undoubtedly disenfranchised by the rich man who happened to wander into their territory and provided them the excuse to descend on him like a pack of wild animals.
Or, this tight knit community was overwhelmed with grief over the injury of the child that they had no choice but to pummel the driver and steal his belongings. Thank goodness this did not happen in GH, the driver may have been called a name.


Dumb pack of

Back to the Wall

A number of questions:
Why is this article silent on the race of the victim?
Why is this not called a hate crime?
Why do black people hate white people so much?
Where in west Michigan might something like this occur?
Why did the assailants, who were justifiably enraged by the collision, spend more time looting the truck and stealing the victim's personal effects than helping the boy?
Was the boy, who was not significantly injured, used as a sacrificial lamb for a heist or was it a gang initiation?
Why are not white people taking to the street and burning down the ghetto?

Somebody, please, give me three GOOD reasons not to be racist after something like this.


One good reason it that this story exemplifies the inhumanity that lies within us all, the underlying feelings of rage, violence, and alienation that can be tapped and triggered by seemingly straightforward events, and have been since the beginning of time. If you think this could never happen in West Michigan, or with white people, or with religious people, or in this country, or in this century, you are - sadly - wrong.

Barry Soetoro

Yup. My advice is to be extra careful while driving through the Amish neighborhoods.


Especially if you have hair and/or a beard. Hate crimes in Amish territory - the assaulting and cutting off of hair and beards of other Amish...

And by the way, troll much, Troll? Sorry - I had to get that off my chest.

Barry Soetoro

I think there's a show on about that. Trolling? I've got much more important stuff on my to-do list. First and foremost being trying to walk on Coach B's rowing team at GVSU. I would probably have to cut back on my solo Beer Summits you think?


Once upon a time, I was on a rowing team (sculling - not to be confused with head-hunting), and I can tell you, unequivocally, that the mixing of rowing and beer summits is a very bad idea, and should be avoided at all costs, especially among the Amish communities and on the Detroit River.


Back to the Wall: Most of your questions are senseless race-baiting, but I'll engage on your last query. Here's the only reason you need. The color of someone's skin is no guide to the quality of that person.

I know a few African-Americans, all of whom would be sickened by this mob attack, and none of whom would do anything like what that mob did. I know a much larger number of white people, the vast majority of whom would have similar reactions. But I also have met a couple deeply unpleasant white people who I can certainly imagine doing something like what that mob did, if the races of the victim and driver were reversed. My point is that race does not tell you anything useful about the values and morals of the person standing in front of you.

If you want other reasons: African-American individuals have donated generously to Mr. Utash's recovery, as have those of other races. African-American community leaders have condemned the attack on Mr. Utash, and called on the community to help find the perpetrators, as have those of other races.

The enemy isn't skin color. It's poverty, and the effects of poverty combined with lawlessness, which has happened in some parts of Detroit.


Then let's invite them to move to grand haven.there's no profiling going on here.


I wonder the reality of the statement "This senseless vigilante-style attack is not the essence of who we are as Detroiters and will not be tolerated” Being this burst of rage will occur so long as we continue the us and them policy of zookeeper style public assistance.
It's lulled people into thinking all needs are covered so we dust off our hands and call it good. Brother O' is in charge and he cares...just like the last guy and the ones before him...isn't it nice to see government caring on parade and doesn't it make you want to put the government in charge of more aspects of life? It seems a government that at first seems to be able to give (or take) all lacks the ability to provide the most essential thing of all, personal attention and genuine love for our brother.


I hope all are charged as adults. These are people who need to be locked up for life, just like the vicious animals they are.

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