DETROIT (WWJ) – Police have confirmed that a fifth person has been arrested in connection with the mob attack on a motorist who stopped to help a child he’d struck with his pickup truck in a Detroit neighborhood.
Detroit Police Chief James Craig said the suspect is a 19-year-old man, and “more arrests are a strong possibility” in the case.
Two men and a 17-year-old boy were arraigned on charges of assault with intent to commit murder in the beating of 54-year-old Steven Utash of Clinton Township. A fourth suspect — a 16-year-old facing juvenile charges in the case — has a hearing scheduled for Saturday.
According to police, Utash was driving home from his job as a tree-trimmer on April 2 when he struck an 10-year-old boy who stepped out into the street. When he got out of his trick to check on the boy, he was jumped by up to 12 people.
Police said Utash was not at fault in the accident, and did the right thing by stopping when he struck the child. A witness told WWJ said dozens of people stood around and watched as Utash was punched, kicked, and stomped on repeatedly. She’s being hailed as a hero for stepping in to stop the attack.
Because Utash is white and the mob was described as all black, many — including Utash’s son — have questioned whether the crime was racially motivated.
Detroit Police Chief Craig, earlier this week, said hate crime charges have not been filed, but have not been ruled out as the scope of the case widens.
Utash remained in a medically induced coma on Monday with bleeding in his brain. The boy he hit was treated for a broken leg.
A candlelight vigil is planned for Utash, Thursday evening, at Little Rock Baptist Church on Woodward Ave. A number of church and local leaders are expected to attend the service they’re calling “A Night Of Healing.”
The Utash family and Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan will be there.