As first reported by WWJ Newsradio 950, an 11-year-old boy suffered a broken leg on Wednesday when he was hit by a pickup truck after walking into the street near Morang and Balfour. The driver, Steven Utash, immediately got out of his truck after hitting the boy and was viciously attacked by 10 to 12 men. The beating was so brutal, Utash was rendered unconscious.
Utash’s son Joseph told WWJ’s Gary Lundy Thursday night that his father remains in a medically induced coma, nearly unrecognizable due to his injuries. He also said his wallet was stolen from his truck.
“If it went on any longer, my dad wouldn’t be in the hospital right now, he would be in the morgue. The way he looked, I am surprised that he is alive,” he said. “He has bruising over his face, his eyes are swollen, I believe it’s his left eye that is completely swollen shut. He also has a big, huge knot on his forehead like he got hit with an object, not a fist.”
Joseph Utash said he was working with his father in Detroit just hours before the attack. Both of the men are tree-trimmers, working in the city for years now.
“I came home from work and it was on the news, my dad’s pickup truck, and I was just like ‘Oh my god.’ Then I heard that he hit a kid and I was like freaking out that my dad hit a kid. And then I heard that bystanders just beat him up and I just, I called my mom immediately,” he said. ”From what I’m hearing is he tried to fight back, but trying to fight back against 11 people fighting you, that’s 22 fists coming at you at once, you can’t really do much.”
Detroit Police Sgt. Michael Woody said Steven Utash was not at fault for the accident.
“Our preliminary investigation shows the child stepped in front of his vehicle,” Woody said. “He did exactly the right thing. He stopped his vehicle, he got out and he tried to render aid to a small child. He did exactly what he was supposed to do… It was a small child and it was an accident; is what it was.”
State Rep. Alberta Tinsley Talabi (D-Detroit), told WWJ Legal Analyst Charlie Langton the incident appears to have racial overtones, adding, “it’s wrong.”
Joseph Utash said although it was tough to stomach, he watched video of the incident.
“It shows the kid, he was standing on the curb with his dad and as my dad’s truck was coming down the street, the kid stepped right in front of my dad’s truck. My dad had absolutely not one chance in the world to try to swerve out-of-the-way or stop,” he said. “He got out of the car to check on the kid and before he even got up to the kid, he got assaulted by 11, 12 people. They jumped all over him and beat him up. While they were jumping him, somebody else jumped in the truck and stole his belongings. They took his wallet, his cellphone, everything out of his truck.”