Hate crime charge in mob attack on Detroit motorist

Steven Utash poses with his family in a family photo.

Utash Family Photo/CBS Detroit

DETROIT - A 16-year-old is facing charges of assault and ethnic intimidation in connection with a mob attack on a motorist who accidentally struck a child on Detroit's east side, reports CBS Detroit.

The teen is black and the driver, 54-year-old Steven Utash, of Clinton Township, is white.

So far, five suspects have been taken into custody in the beating of Utash, who remains in a medically induced coma with bleeding in several parts of his brain, according to the station.

This is the first hate crime charge filed in the case.

The teenager facing the hate crime charge is accused of beating Utash with his fists and feet. The teen's name is not being released because of his age and the fact that he is being charged as a juvenile. Prosecutors say the teen will remain in custody and appear at the Wayne County Juvenile Detention Center on April 12.

Four other males, ages 30, 24, 19, and 17, have also been charged in the attack.

Police have said Utash was driving home from his job as a tree-trimmer on April 2 when he struck a 10-year-old boy who stepped out into the roadway. When Utash got out of his truck to check on the boy, police say he was jumped by 10 to 12 people.

"You hit my nephew, you're going to die," one man said, according to a witness.

Deborah Hughes, a retired nurse, said dozens of people stood around and watched as Utash was punched, kicked, and stomped on repeatedly. She's being hailed as a hero for stepping in to stop the attack.

Police said Utash was not at fault in the accident and did the right thing by stopping to check on the child. The boy he hit was treated for a broken leg.

Because Utash is white and the mob was described as all black, many - including Utash's son - have questioned whether the crime was racially motivated.