DETROIT (WWJ) – A Clinton Township man beaten by an angry mob in Detroit is awake and talking, after lying silent in a medically-induced coma for about a week.

Steven Utash’s family says he is off a ventilator and is able to breathe on his own, but his recovery is just beginning

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In a statement, the family says it seems Utash is having flashbacks to the assault and that he sometimes has a hard time recognizing his loved ones.

“He is off the ventilator and is able to breathe on his own. He is in and out of it with his memories. Sometimes he can look at me and remember who I am and other times he can’t,” the statement reads.

“Today when I asked him how old he is he said “I’m two years old” but he did know his name. He does keep saying “I don’t want to die I’m sorry” and “please don’t let me forget you” He also keeps flashing back to the assault screaming for ‘HELP’ and ‘PLEASE GET THEM OFF ME.’

Joey, the son of injured Steven Utash, speaks outside the hospital. (WWJ/Kathryn Larson)

Joey, the son of injured Steven Utash, speaks outside the hospital. (WWJ/Kathryn Larson)

“He didn’t seem to know what happened to him or why he was in the hospital, but again it is way to early to tell. He is also on MANY pain medications which are causing him to be delirious. These are baby steps. He is able to wiggle is toes on command and answer yes or no questions. It’s to soon to tell if he’s going to have any memory loss or long term damage.

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“The frontal lobe is what was affected the most and that is where his memories and personality are and this is a long road ahead but the end of the road will be worth it. It is so hard to see him like this. I will post if any other changes happen. Please continue to keep my father in your prayers and thoughts. 

So far, five people have been charged in Utash’s beating which police said took place when the 54-year-old man stopped to help a child he’d hit with his pickup truck.

In court proceedings Friday, a not-guilty plea was entered for 19-year-old Latrez Cummings, charged with assault with intent to murder and assault with intent to do great bodily harm in the case.

Seventeen-year-old Bruce Wimbush Jr., 30-year-old Wonzey Saffold and 24-year-old James Davis were arraigned earlier this week on the same charges and are being held in the county jail on $500,000 bonds. They’ll be back in court on April 21.

A 16-year-old suspect, charged a juvenile with assault and ethnic intimidation, faces a hearing on Saturday.

Utash has no medical insurance, and his family has set up an online fundraiser to help pay for medical bills. More than $150,000 has been raised. To contribute, click here.

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