16-Year-Old Charged with Assault in Beating of Driver in Detroit

Steven Utash, left, poses with his 20-year-old daughter, Felicia Utash. Utash, who hit David Harris with his truck, is clinging to life after being beaten by a group of people in Detroit on Wednesday, April 2, 2014. (Photo: Family photo via Detroit Free Press)
Steven Utash, left, poses with his 20-year-old daughter, Felicia Utash. Utash, who hit David Harris with his truck, is clinging to life after being beaten by a group of people in Detroit on Wednesday, April 2, 2014. (Photo: Family photo via Detroit Free Press)

The youngest suspect arrested in the beating last week of a Macomb County man was called an instigator in the attack during a court hearing Saturday at the Wayne County Juvenile Detention Center in Detroit.

“He was one of the first to throw punches in this crime,” according to Wayne County Assistant Prosecutor Matthew Penney, saying the 16-year-old from Detroit was an instigator in the “savage beating of a completely innocent man” and poses a great risk to the community.

EARLIER: Teen, 16, faces hate crime charges in driver beating

Steve Utash, 54, was attacked by a mob April 2 on Detroit’s east side after his vehicle struck a 10-year-old, and he got out to check on the boy.

The beating left him hospitalized with head injuries, and he recently awoke from a medically induced coma. The boy who was hit was hospitalized with a leg injury.

The teen at Saturday’s hearing, who the Detroit Free Press is not naming because he is a juvenile, was charged with assault with intent to do great bodily harm and ethnic intimidation. Juvenile Court Referee Raeigen Woods, noting the severity of the crime, set bail at $400,000. His next court date is Thursday.

The teen is the only one to receive the ethnic intimidation charge; Penney would not comment Saturday on the charges.

The mother and father of the teen were in the courtroom. The mother called her son an average teenager who is considered a good kid by other parents in his neighborhood.

“This is not my child you are describing,” she said.

Defense attorney Sterling Coleman, in arguing for a lesser bail, said the teen does not have a juvenile record, and his parents are both involved in his life, noting that they brought their son to police. Penney had requested bail of $500,000, which is the same as that set for the other defendants.

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SOURCE: Eric Lawrence
Detroit Free Press

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