April 9, 2014 at 1:00 am

Fifth suspect arrested in beating of Clinton Twp. motorist

Daughter Mandi Emerick with her father, Steven Utash, who is in critical condition after being beaten by an angry mob in Detroit. (Family photo)

Following a brief foot chase, Detroit police officers on Wednesday nabbed a fifth suspect in connection with last week’s mob beating of a Clinton Township motorist.

The 19-year-old arrested Wednesday was allegedly part of the crowd that attacked Steven Utash, 54, on April 2 when he left his truck to check on a 10-year-old boy he had hit near Morang and Balfour. Utash was on his way home when police said the boy darted into traffic.

Detroit Police Chief James Craig said there’s a “strong possibility” more arrests will be announced in the case.

Craig said police are getting “some” tips from the community. “I wouldn’t call it a lot,” he said.

“We’re working hard to identify all the suspects, but we don’t know the total number, and we may never know,” Craig said.

A city ordinance, passed 9-0 Tuesday by the Detroit City Council, will help identify suspects in future cases, Craig said. The ordinance aims to strengthen licensing requirements for self-service gas stations, requiring them to have indoor and outdoor digital surveillance cameras.

“We can’t fight crime unless we give officers the proper tools,” said Councilman Andre Spivey, who spearheaded the ordinance. Spivey said the Utash beating didn’t prompt the requirement, since it’s been in the works for weeks.

Utash remains in a medically induced coma in St. John Hospital. His daughter, Mandi Utash, wrote on a website set up to raise funds for his medical costs: “Our dad is the same. We are sill waiting to hear his voice.” She announced there will be a vigil for her father at 7:30 p.m. tonight at Little Rock Baptist Church, 9000 Woodward.

As of 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, more than $148,000 had been raised.

The chief praised retired nurse Deborah Hughes, who stopped the beating and rendered aid to Utash until an ambulance arrived. “To me, she’s the bright spot in this tragic situation,” Craig said.

Three other suspects have been arraigned in the case, and are in jail in lieu of $500,000 bond each.

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy is reviewing a warrant request against another teen, 16.

ghunter@detroitnews.com
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