published Saturday, April 5th, 2014

2 arrests made in Detroit mob attack on man

Cars enter local business at the scene of an attack in Detroit. A suburban Detroit man was in critical condition with severe head injuries after a neighborhood mob beat and kicked him when he stopped to check on a 10-year-old boy who stepped from a curb into the path of his pickup.
Cars enter local business at the scene of an attack in Detroit. A suburban Detroit man was in critical condition with severe head injuries after a neighborhood mob beat and kicked him when he stopped to check on a 10-year-old boy who stepped from a curb into the path of his pickup.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

DETROIT — Two Detroit teenagers were arrested Saturday in an attack on a suburban man who was brutally beaten by a mob after accidentally striking a boy with his pickup truck.

Investigators believe the 17-year-old and 16-year-old males had a direct role in the beating of Steve Utash, said Sgt. Mike Woody, a Detroit police spokesman.

Utash remained in critical condition Saturday, three days after the attack on the city's east side.

Woody said no charges would be immediately filed against the teens while investigators continue their work. Police believe at least six people may have been involved.

"We still have a long way to go. I've been reminding people we're still at the very beginning stage of this investigation," the sergeant said.

The case has outraged the public, clergy and elected officials. Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan called the attack "senseless."

Utash, 54, of Clinton Township accidentally struck a 10-year-old boy with his pickup Wednesday. A mob swarmed him as he checked the boy, whose injuries were not life-threatening.

A prominent black pastor, the Rev. Horace Sheffield III, called on the public to go block by block to find the "heartless perpetrators."

It's important for community members "to prove that we equally deplore justice and unbridled brutality no matter what color the victim is or of the one committing it," Sheffield said in a statement.

Utash is white; Detroit is more than 80 percent black.

Utash's family said more than $50,000 has been raised for his medical bills. The tree trimmer has no medical insurance.

"I never expected this. ... The whole nation is rooting for him to wake up and be OK," his daughter, Mandi Emerick, told The Detroit News.

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