54-year-old Steve Utash was on his way home from work on Wednesday April 2 when he accidentally hit a 10-year-old boy. As he attempted to provide aid to the injured child, a group of witnesses attacked Utash. Now, the young boy is on his way to a full recovery, having suffered only minor injuries. Yet, Utash remains in a medically induced coma. As a show of support for the badly beaten Detroit man, there will be a candlelight vigil held on Thursday April 10 at Little Rock Baptist Church, being dubbed a “night of healing.”
Just after 4pm on the day of the incident, Steve Utash, a tree trimmer by trade, was driving his pickup on the eastside of Detroit. Just at the wrong time, 10-year-old David Harris stepped into the street in front of a Clark gas station. That’s when the unfortunate collision took place. Utash then pulled his truck to the side of the road and exited to help Harris. What happened next ended up being the real tragedy and is certain to be topic of choice at Thursday evening’s “night of healing.”
As Utash attempted to examine the situation, he was reportedly assaulted by an angry mob that witnessed the event. According to police, up to a dozen individuals kicked and punched Utash repeatedly until he fell unconscious. So far, five of the alleged attackers have been arrested. The first three to be arraigned, include Bruce Wimbush Jr., 17, Wonzey Saffold, 30, James Deontae Davis, 24, who have been officially charged with intent to murder, assault, and intent to do great bodily harm. A fourth man, Latrez Cummings has now also been arrested and charged with assault and intent to murder. The youngest of the group to face prosecution, is a 16-year-old (unnamed) who is also the first out of the mob to be charged with a hate crime. While Utash is Caucasian, all those charged in the beating are African-American – a factor that some are saying may have played a role in the event.
Some good, it seems has arisen from the chaos of the incidents on April 2. One heroic woman, a retired nurse named Deborah Hughes actually dashed from her home, gun in hand, and placed herself on top of Utash, protecting him from the mob. Hughes, who happens to be African-American, stated: “He was a man. He wasn’t white. He was a man. And I was ready to shoot anybody who hit that man again,” Since then, Hughes has been very vocal about the injustice done to Utash and will be involved in the “night of healing,” which has been urged on by religious leaders of all faiths, Detroit Mayor Duggan, and the family of the badly beaten man. The event will include a candlelight vigil and prayer for Utash’s recovery.
Other inspiring news came recently with the pouring-in of donations for Utash. So far, the family has received a whopping $150,000. This is particularly crucial as his medical bills are around $20,000 per day. Utash does not currently have medical insurance. His daughter, Mandi Emerick put out a statement recently thanking everyone that has offered prayers and showed support for her dad. Another of Utash’s daughters, Felicia, said of the man: “He was doing the right thing like he always does… He’s an amazing dad and person.”
David Harris, the 10-year-old boy struck by Utash’s pickup suffered a minor leg injury and is thankfully making a full recovery. Now, family and friends await to see if Utash will come out of his medically induced coma without any permanent damage: “There are lumps all over his head, everywhere you look,” said son, Joe Utash. Thursday’s “night of healing” at Little Rock Baptist Church is certain to be an evening of deep thought, prayer, support, and dialogue over the recent incident that led to one Detroit man being badly beaten over what ended up being a fairly harmless accident.
By Josh Taub