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 affiliate WDIV 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.
Courtesy Utash family
Steve Utash, center, was attacked by a mob after Utash hit a boy while driving his truck on April 2, 2014.
First published April 6 2014, 3:31 PM
Ron Allen is an NBC News correspondent based in New York. His reports appear on all of NBCâ€™s platforms including, â€œNightly News with Brian Williams,â€ â€œTODAY,â€ and MSNBC.
... Expand Bio
He joined NBC News in 1996. Since then he has covered a wide range of national and international stories. Most recently, his assignments have included the Trayvon Martin shooting, the abuse scandal at Penn State, the historic Arab Spring from Cairo, Egypt, the devastating earth in Haiti, and the 2012 election campaign.
Allen covered the historic 2008 Presidential election campaign. He reported from Chicagoâ€™s Grant Park the night of President Barack Obamaâ€™s victory, the culmination of a year spent traveling the country, following the campaigns of Mitt Romney, Hillary Clinton and the general election campaign of Vice President Joe Biden. He also reported from the floor of the Republican National Convention in St. Paul.
Allen moved to New York in 2003 after 11 years as a foreign correspondent based in London. He has traveled to more than 75 countries, spending a considerable amount of time in hotspots such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, the Balkans, Israel and the Palestinian territories, and across Africa, in countries such as Rwanda, South Africa and Somalia to name just a few.
Prior to joining NBC, Allen was a London based correspondent for ABC News, and before that a CBS News correspondent, based in Washington, D.C., and in Los Angeles.
Allen covered local news for WCVB-TV, (ABC) Boston, WFSB-TV, (CBS) Hartford, and WBTV, (CBS) Charlotte. He began his career at CBS News in New York as a desk assistant.
Allenâ€™s work with reporting teams has earned many of journalismâ€™s highest honors, including six Overseas Press Club Awards, five Emmys, two Robert F. Kennedy Awards, two George Foster Peabody Awards, and two Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Awards. The National Association of Black Journalists named him journalist of the year in 1996.
Allen has both a Bachelorâ€™s and Masterâ€™s degree in political science from the University of Pennsylvania. He is a member of the Universityâ€™s Board of Overseers, the Board of the Overseas Press Club, the Leadership Council of the Committee to Protect Journalists. He has participated in the Woodrow Wilson Fellows program.
Allen lives in the New York/New Jersey metropolitan area with his wife and daughter.