DETROIT (WWJ) – The son of a 54-year-old Clinton Township man who was beaten by mob of up to a dozen men in Detroit believes the attack was racially motivated.
Joe Utash says his father, Steven Utash, remains in a medically-induced coma, now five days since was kicked, punched and stomped on by a group of up to a dozen people following an auto accident.
According to police, Steven Utash was driving his pickup truck home from his job as a tree-trimmer when he struck an 10-year-old boy who stepped out into the street. When he got out of his car to check on the boy, he was assaulted.
The beating was caught on tape.
“I’m my own detective at home watching all these videos,” Joe Utash told WWJ Newsradio 950. “There’s people that literally just pulled up at that gas station to get out of their car and walk around their car to go up to my dad and kick him, and just kick him over and over and over again.”
“It’s like you pulled up after there was already nine people on my dad and started kicking my dad,” Joe Utash said. “What possessed you to do that besides hatred in your heart? … I hate everybody that did this to my dad, but I don’t have that much hate to where I’d get out and start beating him, too.”
“That takes … it has to be like a racial thing,” he said.
Joe Utash said he’d hoped that his father would be awake by now, but the doctors say he is still has bleeding from three spots in his brain.
The few times Steven Utash has regained consciousness, his son said, “He thinks that he’s being held down … It’s from the restraints, but he thinks he’s just being held down and beat still. I mean, he’s just screaming; he’s not saying any words — just screaming, ‘Ahh! Ahh!'”
As of Monday afternoon, three people, including two teens, had been arrested in connection with the beating. Detroit Police Chief James Craig told reporters a fourth suspect was expected to be taken into custody soon.
Craig said hate crime charges have not been filed, but would not be ruled out as the scope of the case widens.
Joe Utash said he wants to thank Detroit police and members of the group Detroit 300 who went door to door asking for tips.
“And I just pray that these two kids (who were arrested) don’t just go and do life for somebody else,” Joe Utash said. “They’re gonna, hopefully, tell on the next person.”
Police said Utash was not at fault in the accident, and did the right thing by stopping when he struck the child. The boy who was hit suffered a broken leg.
“The (boy’s) family keeps asking to meet us. They want to talk to us,” Joe Utash said. “I keep saying, don’t bring that family around me. We don’t want to talk to the family until everybody that was involved in that fight was arrested. Then we’ll meet with the family of the boy, you know … maybe.”