DETROIT (AP/WWJ) – A Detroit-area motorist is returning to work as a tree trimmer four months after he was severely beaten in a mob attack.
In a letter, Steven Utash, 54, of Roseville said he is thankful for the thousands of people who donated money to his recovery and sent words of encouragement. His daughter posted the letter to the gofundme.org website that helped raise nearly $190,000 in donations for his medical expenses.
“When I think of everyone that was there for me, it brings me to tears to feel what I only can describe as love from strangers,” Utash wrote. “I really don’t know how to write my feelings in words to show what all of you people have made me feel, which was important, and special.”
Utash said he is excited to return to normalcy and feels that he is now mentally and physically ready for work.
Utash was attacked by as many as a dozen people in April, according to witnesses, after he accidentally hit a 10-year-old boy with his pickup truck in Detroit.
Utash, who was “nearly unrecognizable”following the beating, was in a medically induced coma for about a week. The boy was treated for a broken leg.
Five people pleaded guilty to assault and were sentenced. Attempted murder charges were dropped.
Prosecutors argued the sentences were too light for 35-year-old James Davis, who must serve a year in jail but may be released during the day for a job; and 19-year-old Latrez Cummings, who was sentenced to six months in jail.
The three others charged in the case were 30-year-old Wonzey Saffold, who was sentenced to more than six years in prison; 18-year-old Bruce Wimbush who was placed on probation; and a 17-year-old, charged as a juvenile, who will spend 90 days in a juvenile detention center.
It was alleged by some that the attack was racially charged as Utash is white and the mob was described as all black. An ethnic intimidation charge against the 17-year-old was dropped as part of a plea deal.
Saffold got the harshest sentence because of his criminal record.
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