DETROIT (WWJ) – The Macomb County motorist nearly beaten to death by an angry mob on Detroit’s east side earlier this month is being released from a hospital intensive care unit.
Steven Utash is being transferred from St. John Hospital to the 84-bed Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan, where he will continue to recover from severe head injuries suffered in the April 2 beating.
Mandi Emerick, Utash’s daughter, said the transfer could happen as early as Tuesday.
“RIM is one of the top rehab centers at DMC hospital that specializes in neurological damage and memory injuries. I am beyond excited to have him out of the ICU and into a setting where everyone is dedicated to his success,” Emerick wrote in a post online. “I hope with time there he will regain his personality and memories as well as motor skills. The recovery journey has begun and we are all hoping for the best.”
Utash, 54, was driving home from his job as a tree-trimmer when he was attacked by as many as 12 people after stopping to check on a 10-year-old boy he’d struck with his pickup truck.
A witness told WWJ dozens of people stood around and watched as Utash was punched, kicked, and stomped on repeatedly. A retired nurse is being hailed as a hero for stepping in to stop the attack.
Four young men and a teenager are facing charges in the case.
Seventeen-year-old Bruce Wimbush Jr., 19-year-old Latrez Cummings, 24-year-old James Davis and 30-year-old Wonzey Saffold — all charged with assault with intent to murder — pleaded not guilty to the charges at an arraignment in Wayne County Circuit Court on Monday.
Bonds were lowered from $500,000 to $100,000 for Wimbash and Davis, and from $500,000 to $25,000 for Cummings, on the condition he wear a GPS tracking tether if he’s released. Saffold remains jailed on his original $500,000 bond.
A trial date was scheduled for Aug. 18 for Cummings and Saffold, while Wimbush and Davis are scheduled to go to trial on Aug. 25.
A 16-year-old accused of throwing the first punch in the brutal beating is being held on a $400,000 bond after being arraigned earlier this month on charges of assault and ethnic intimidation. He is the only defendant currently facing hate crime charges; Utash is white, his alleged attackers are black.
A trial for the teen is set to begin June 23.
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