Traverse City Record-Eagle

Michigan

April 9, 2014

3 charged in Detroit mob beating of motorist

DETROIT (AP) — A teenager and two other men were charged Tuesday in the brutal beating of a 54-year-old suburban Detroit man after he accidentally hit a child who stepped off the curb into the path of his truck.

Police meanwhile credited a nurse with saving the life of Steve Utash by stepping between him and the half-dozen or more men who punched and kicked him after the April 2 accident on the northeast side of Detroit.

The incident left Utash, a tree-trimmer from Macomb County’s Clinton Township, with severe head injuries. He is in a medically induced coma.

Bruce Wimbush Jr., 17, Wonzey Saffold, 30, and James Davis, 24, have been charged with assault with intent to murder and assault with intent to commit great bodily harm. Wimbush and a 16-year-old boy were arrested Saturday.

Utash could have been killed if not for Deborah Hughes, a 56-year-old nurse who put herself between the mob and the downed man, according to Detroit police Sgt. Michael Woody.

“She is nothing less than a hero,” Woody told The Associated Press. “She basically kneeled and laid down with this guy to get them to stop hitting him. She essentially saved this guy’s life. They wouldn’t have stopped.”

Police Chief James Craig visited Hughes on Tuesday to thank her, Woody said. The AP left a voicemail Tuesday at Hughes’ home.

Hughes told The Detroit News for a story Tuesday that she was watching from a window in her home when David Harris, 10, was hit by Utash’s truck. She ran outside to tend to the boy and that’s when the mob descended.

“(Utash) was screaming, and they were beating him, and kicking him,” Hughes told the newspaper. “I said ‘Please don’t hit him anymore,’ and they backed up. Everybody cleared the way and gave me room to work on him.”

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