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'Night of Healing' Planned Thursday for Motorist Who Was Viciously Attacked – and for Detroit

Steve Utash remains in a medically induced coma, but is healing. A candlelight vigil is planned for Thursday both for his continued recovery and Detroit's from a vicious attack that has ripped the city's soul.

Area religious leaders and others have organized a candlelight vigil at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 10, at Little Rock Baptist Church. (Patch file photos)
Area religious leaders and others have organized a candlelight vigil at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 10, at Little Rock Baptist Church. (Patch file photos)

Steve Utash, the Clinton Township man who was severely beaten by a mob a week ago, remains in a in a medically induced coma at a Detroit hospital, but is healing, family members said.

Utash’s son, Joe Utash, 24, told the Detroit Free Press that his father, 54, is healing, but could be in the hospital for six months.

Joe Utash told the newspaper that it looked as if someone had taken a hammer to his father’s head. “There are lumps all over his head, everywhere you look.”

Steve Utash was beaten unconscious when he was mobbed by a large group of people after he stopped to give aid to a child he accidentally hit on his way home from work as a tree trimmer. The 10-year-old boy who ran into traffic has recovered.

Prayers for Utash’s continued healing – as well as for the healing Detroit, which has been ripped apart in the week since the beating – will be offered at a candlelight vigil at 7 p.m. Thursday at Little Rock Baptist Church, 9000 Woodward Ave.

Besides Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, Utash’s three children, and area ministers who have called for “a night of healing,” those speaking are expected to include Deborah Hughes, the retired nurse who gave aid to Utash after the beating and encouraged the mob to disburse.

The ministers are part of a coalition of religious leaders representing the Catholic, Jewish, Protestant and Baptist faiths who are united in making “a strong appeal to the community to maintain a spirit of peace and calm as the summer months approach,” according to a news release on the event.

“If you are unable to join us, please light a candle with your loved ones and pray for our dad’s complete recovery,” Utash’s daughter, Mandi Emerick wrote on the online site where money is being raised to help defray the family’s medical expenses “Thank you all again for your thoughts, prayers and support.”

Donations are still coming in at a rapid pace, with nearly $150,000 – three times the original goal – pledged so far on the family’s Go Fund Me site.

The family is grateful for the donations, Joe Utash said, but much more will be needed to cover their father’s medical bills. His care costs about $20,000 a day and he had no medical insurance.

A fifth person – a 19-year-old man – has been arrested in the attack on Utash. Three people have been charged and the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office is still weighing whether to charge a 16-year-old in custody as an adult.

Those already charged include James Deontae Davis, 24, Wonzey Saffold, 30, and Bruce Wimbush Jr., 17, who were arraigned in Detroit's 36th District Court on Tuesday on charges of assault with intent to murder and assault with intent to do great bodily harm.

They are due back in court April 21.

Police have not released the name of the suspect who was arrested Wednesday.
TAASMAN April 09, 2014 at 07:09 PM
Such a great thing to see our community come together. Things can change in 24 hours and holding grudges and hatred only causes more hurt and anger that is not needed. Kudos to the leaders for putting this on.
Texas April 10, 2014 at 08:35 AM
It so sad and scary to even thinking this day and age this could happen, people acting like animals. Scary to go to the city.
Ahmed Ismail April 10, 2014 at 09:54 AM
I hope that those reading this article will take the time to do the right thing for Steve Utash by going to the donation site listed above and make a donation to help the Utash family through this nightmare. Just skip what you were going to do this weekend and take that money and donate it to the Utash family. It's the right thing to do--you'll be helping someone who did the right thing as well. Thank you!
Reverend Barbara Sexton April 10, 2014 at 06:27 PM
Healing cannot occur until all 'pus' is cleared out! To state otherwise is either disingenuous or is a complete lie or it's both. Furthermore, I can tell you that healing begins from 'within', so let's get on with it, our friends in Detroit. Rev. Barb Stamford, CT
Philip April 10, 2014 at 07:55 PM
according to a master plan for Detroit promoted a couple of years ago, the idea is to congregate populated areas of the city and move out those who live in sparser settled areas. If that plan comes about, what happened to Mr. Utash will only be the first instance of a way of life. Although regular citizens will move out, there is certainty that the lawless will move into the vacated parts of Detroit. If you stay in a populated part of the city, you should be relatively safe. However, if you have business or pleasure that takes you out of one populated area into another populated area, you will have to pass through the "Sherwood Forest," full of outlaws, in between. Woe betide the innocent traveler, like Mr. Utash, who is caught out there. My response to this is to carve Detroit into three pieces: The City of Grand River (north of I-96 and west of Woodward), The City of Gratiot (north of I-96 and east of Woodward), and The City of Detroit (south of I-96). These cities would be self-sufficient, but could share resources if they wanted to. The benefit would be local control of utilities and services. Also, any empty spaces would be smaller and more easily controlled than ones in the present 139 square miles of Detroit. Additionally, with local control, builders would appear because people apparently want to live closer to the core of an area, which in this case, would be the smaller City of Detroit. Detroit once was a small settlement along the river bank. It expanded to take in a huge area as people flocked in. Why can't it retract in order to meet the current circumstances?

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