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Family Wants Answers After Angry Mob Puts Dad in Coma
BY RON ALLEN AND ELISHA FIELDSTADT
The family of a 54-year-old man who was beaten into a coma by a mob — after accidentally hitting a boy with his pickup truck — said that they don’t understand the attackers’ aggression.
"You're that concerned about the kid, why are you jumping all over my dad and jumping in his truck and stealing his belongings," Steve Utash’s son, Joe Utash, told the Detroit Free Press.
Steve Utash accidentally struck a 10-year-old boy who stepped off the curb and into the path of his pickup on Wednesday, Detroit Police Officer Jennifer Moreno told NBC News. The boy suffered a broken leg and has since been released from the hospital
But, when Utash stopped his vehicle to check on the boy, at least ten "juveniles" rushed to the pickup and brutally beat him — leaving the man so critical that doctors induced a coma, Moreno said.
"It's just hard to see him lying in bed and not knowing who we are or where he is or what's going on," said his daughter, Felicia Utash.
Authorities have determined that the accident was fairly unavoidable.
"The gentleman (Utash) had no chance of stopping," said Moreno.
And that's why Utash’s family cannot fathom why it led to such tragic results.
“The aggression, I don't understand why they were so angry at him. I don't understand any of it,” said Utash’s daughter, Mandi Emerick.
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said Utash "had done the right thing by stopping to check on the boy" and called on witnesses to share what they know about the attackers "so that justice can be served and healing can begin."
Two teenagers were arrested Saturday in connection with the assault, NBC's Detroit affiliateWDIV reported.
But one witness, Desmond Key, said when Utash “fell to the ground, everybody just walked off.”
"This senseless vigilante style attack is not the essence of who we are as Detroiters and will not be tolerated," Duggan said.
More than 2,000 people have donated a total of nearly $100,000 to a fund set up by Utash's family on Saturday to assist with his medical bills.