'Race is being looked at' as a
possible motive in attack on driver in
By Stephanie Gallman
April 8, 2014
Source: WXYZ

(CNN) -- Detroit Police Chief James Craig
wouldn't go so far as to call a mob attack on a
driver last week a "hate crime," but, he said,
"The issue of race is being looked at" as a
possible motive.

Four people are now in custody after the
assault, which left the victim in a coma,
authorities said.

Two men, ages 24 and 30, were arrested
Monday after the weekend jailing of two
teenagers, one of whom who has been
charged as an adult.

The names of the two adult men have not been

Detroit Police Sgt. Michael Woody said that on
Wednesday, a group of a dozen or so other
people attacked Steven Utash, a 54-year-old
grandfather, after a car accident.

Bruce Edward Wimbush, 17, was charged
Monday with assault with intent to murder,
Wayne County prosecutor Kym Worthy said in
a news release.
Retired nurse risks life to save stranger

A fourth suspect, a 16-year-old boy, was also
arrested in connection with the attack, but
prosecutors are still deciding if he will be
charged as an adult.

"By no means are we through with this
investigation," Woody said, hinting there might
be more arrests soon.

Utash was driving through the east side of town
in his truck when he inadvertently struck a
young boy who had stepped into the road,
Woody said.

The man immediately stopped his vehicle to
help the boy when he was allegedly "severely
beaten" with "fists and feet," the prosecutor's
release said.

Utash remains hospitalized in a medically
induced coma.

"It's hard to see him lying in the bed, not
knowing who we are, where he is or what's
going on," Felicia Utash, the victim's daughter,
said about her father.

She, along with her brother and sister set up a
GoFundMe page for their dad, who they say
doesn't have insurance. After four days,
donations exceeded $129,000.

"We are grateful beyond words to each and
every person who has said a prayer or donated
money for our dad," Mandi Marie, Utash's other
daughter, said Monday in a post on the page.

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. Woody
said that he was unsure of the extent of the
10-year-old's injuries but that he is at home
recovering from the accident.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan and City Council
President Brenda Jones issued a statement
Friday in response to outrage over the
incident, asking for calm and patience from all

"This senseless vigilante style attack is not the
essence of who we are as Detroiters and will
not be tolerated," the statement said.
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Retired nurse called hero
for stopping attack on
pickup driver in Detroit
April 8, 2014   
By Gina Damron and Katrease Stafford
Detroit Free Press

When Steve Utash was on the ground,
being beaten by a mob, one woman
stepped in to stop the attack.

Detroit police credited retired nurse
Deborah Hughes with saving Utash,
who was beaten by a crowd that
quickly gathered after his pickup struck
a 10-year-old boy on Detroit’s east
side last week.

Detroit police Sgt. Michael Woody said
that when Hughes got onto the ground
to shield Utash during the attack, his
assailants backed off.

“She’s a hero for it,” Woody said. “She
saved that man’s life.”

In an interview with the Free Press on
Tuesday, Hughes, 56, said that from
her home she saw the injured child on
the ground, put on her jacket and went
to help. While she tended to the child,
Utash got out of his truck and started
walking toward them.

She said he asked: “Did I do this? Is he

Suddenly a mob — between 10 and 12
people, according to police — began
attacking Utash, who put up his hands
to block the blows.

Hughes intervened.

“I told them to leave him alone. Don’t
nobody hit him anymore,” she said.

As Utash was lying on the ground,
Hughes said she rubbed his chest and
neck and massaged his nostrils until
he started breathing.

“He woke up in a panic and started
fighting,” Hughes said, adding that she
helped a paramedic restrain him.

Utash, 54, of Clinton Township is
hospitalized with critical head injuries,
according to police and his family. Joe
Utash said his father is in a medically-
induced coma.

The 10-year-old, who was hit by Utash’
s pickup when he stepped out into
traffic, was hospitalized, but was
expected to make a full recovery,
police have said.

As police continue to investigate the
beating, two men and a teenager have
been charged and arraigned in
connection with the April 2 assault,
which occurred near a gas station at
Morang and McKinney. Prosecutors
are deciding whether to charge a 16-
year-old, who is in custody, as an adult.

Joe Utash, Steve Utash’s son, said that
when he met Hughes on Tuesday, he
starting crying and gave her a hug. He
said she saved his father’s life.

“I don’t think he would have been
dead, I know he would have been
dead,” Joe Utash said.

He said Hughes went to his father
during the assault “and she did the
best she could to stop it.”

Hughes called the meeting with Utash’s
son “beautiful.” She said Joe Utash
plans to call her each day to provide
an update on his dad’s condition.

“I was so glad they wanted to meet with
me,” Hughes said.

James Deontae Davis, 24, Wonzey
Saffold, 30, and Bruce Wimbush Jr.,
17, were arraigned in Detroit’s 36th
District Court on charges of assault
with intent to murder and assault with
intent to do great bodily harm less than

A 16-year-old also is in custody in the
beating, but has not been charged and
remains at the Wayne County Juvenile
Detention Center. The Wayne County
Prosecutor’s Office is determining
whether to charge the teen as an adult.

Davis, Wimbush and Saffold were each
given $500,000 cash or surety bonds
and are due back in court April 21.

Wimbush’s attorney, Randall Upshaw,
said his client is “alleged to have a
minor role” in the assault. He called
Wimbush’s bond excessive and said
he surrendered to the police, spoke to
officers and is remorseful.

“The family and everyone who knows
about the case is remorseful for the
victim,” Upshaw said. He said that’s
why Wimbush wanted to go speak to
police “because he’s remorseful about
what happened to the victim.”

Joe Utash said he believes his father’s
attack was a hate crime. Detroit Police
Chief James Craig previously said
police are investigating the possibility
that the assault was a hate crime.
Utash said he is “very impressed at the
police effort in finding the people that
did this to my dad.”

Hughes said the incident was “one of
the most awful things I’ve ever seen”
and said she plans to move.

“I’ve never seen anything like I saw
that day,” she said. “I just feel

The incident has gained widespread
attention and an outpouring of support
for Utash and his family.

An online fund-raiser at http://www.
gofundme.com/81r9sk had raised
nearly $140,000 toward his medical
bills as of Tuesday evening.