A Detroit motorist named Steve Utash was severely beaten by a crowd of 10 to 20 men after the man got out to check on a boy who ran in front of his pickup truck and was hit.
The incident happened Wednesday at a gas station on Detroit’s east side. The 54-year-old driver got out to check on the boy after striking him at a low speed, but a group of 10 to 20 men descended on the scene and began to beat the driver.
“My understanding is that it was a low-speed accident. It was exactly that — just an accident,” said Detroit police Sgt. Michael Woody, adding that the boy stepped out in front of the truck. “The man did try to stop and render aid. He did everything he could exactly right.”
Police said the gas station is a popular hangout in the neighborhood, and that within a few seconds of the accident there were close to 20 people around the car. Investigators added that the men in the mob were black, but did not say if the attack was racially motivated.
Police said they do not have suspects in the Detroit motorist beating, but did arrest the boy’s father on an unrelated charge and are questioning him about the assault.
“Whether or not he was actually involved in the assault, that still has yet to be determined,” Woody said.
After Steve Utash was beaten by the crowd, some of the assailants stole his wallet and credit cards, police said.
“What happened to my dad is a shame,” said Steve’s 20-year-old daughter, Felicia Utash, via a Facebook message. “He was doing the right thing like he always does.”
Though the story was more bad news for an already beleagured city, Woody pleaded for people not to judge Detroit harshly because of the nearly fatal beating of Steve Utash.
“What we want to remind everybody, not just the citizens that live here, but those that work and play here, as well, is that… this is not conducive to how the city of Detroit generally handles things,” Woody said. “This is very much an anomaly. It’s very much a shock to all of us. I would ask that everybody reserve their judgments. Right now we have a man that’s in the hospital fighting for his life. We have a young boy that I understand is also still in the hospital. He is recovering.”
Woody said the Detroit motorist beaten by the mob was in critical condition, and could die. The boy is also listed in critical condition, but his condition is not believed to be as serious as Steve Utash.