The entire event was an accident gone wrong when a 10-year-old boy stepped out in front of a pickup truck in Detroit. The driver, 54-year old Steve Utash, pulled over to check on the child but things quickly got out of hand. As many as a dozen people pummeled Utash with their fists and feet, police said.
Now, a fifth person was arrested who was involved in the beating. Officer Dan Donakowski said the arrest came Wednesday, however, police have not released the person’s name, age or any other details.
The others involved in the beating were arraigned on Tuesday, they are 17-year-old Bruce Wimbush Jr., 30-year-old Wonzey Saffold and 24-year-old James Davis. They’re charged with assault with intent to murder and assault with intent to commit great bodily harm.
A 16-year-old boy also faces a hearing on Saturday.
Utash is in a medically induced coma due to head injuries.
The prosecutor’s office said the boy who was struck by Utash’s truck was taken to a local hospital and treated for a leg injury. The boy is at home recovering from the accident.
Police Chief James Craig won’t claim the attack as a “hate crime,” but, he said, “the issue of race is being looked at” as a possible motive.
He did credit a woman who stepped in as Utash was being attacked, CNN affiliate WDIV reported.
“Just her presence, offering aid to this gentleman, may have saved his life,” Craig said.
The woman is Deborah Hughes, who met with Utash’s son Joe, to talk to him about what happened to his father.
“I went to your dad and he was unconscious. He wasn’t doing anything,” she said, WDIV reported. “I go over there and I say, ‘Don’t nobody else hit him. Don’t put your hands on him. Leave him alone!’ And everybody backed up and let me go to work on your dad,” said Hughes, a retired nurse.
She told WDIV that Utash gained consciousness at one point and asked, “Is the boy dead?”
Joe thanked Ms. Hughes for everything she did to save his fathers life.
“I know that you saved him and that means so much to us,” he said, WDIV reported.
None of the charged suspects are believed to be related or linked to the boy or his family, said Jennifer Moreno, a police public information officer. She says the beating was “a spontaneous response.”
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and City Council President Brenda Jones issued a statement Friday about the incident:
“This senseless vigilante style attack is not the essence of who we are as Detroiters and will not be tolerated,” the statement said.
Utash’s daughter, Felicia, told CNN affiliate WXYZ that she doesn’t want to believe the assault on her father was a hate crime, but she is pleased that suspects have been apprehended.
She, along with her brother and sister, have set up a GoFundMe.com page for their father, who they say does not have health insurance. Donations have exceeded $135,000 in four days.
Police are still searching for the remaining suspects. “By no means are we through with this investigation,” Detroit Police Sgt. Michael Woody said.
Image via YouTube