August 6, 2014 at 1:06 am

Motorist beaten by Detroit mob back to work, he says in letter

Four months after a severe beating at the hands of a mob, Steve Utash has returned to work as a tree trimmer and thanked the thousands of people from around the world who prayed and donated money to his recovery.

In a letter his daughter Mandi Emerick posted on a website gofundme.org to help the Utash family with its medical bills, Utash, of Clinton Township shared his feelings about the outpouring of support from many people he has never met.

“I have no damage to my mind and body,” he wrote Sunday. “I am just fine. It’s been a long wait for the OK from the doctors. It’s finally here. Tomorrow I will finally get my life back. When I think of everyone that was there for me, it brings me to tears to feel what I only can describe as love from strangers.”

The website helped raise $188,706 for Utash’s medical expenses.

Utash, who is white, was attacked by a Detroit mob April 2 after stopping to check on a 10-year-old boy he accidentally struck with his vehicle when the child darted out in front of traffic on Morang and McKinney on the city’s east side. His attackers were African-American. He was put in a medically induced coma.

Wayne County Circuit Judge James Callahan refused last month to reconsider the sentences for two men who participated in a mob attack.

Latrez Cummings, 19, was given six months in jail, and James Davis, 24, was sentenced to a year. Davis will be able to spend his time incarcerated at night while he works a job at a recycling center. Callahan said Davis’ age and lack of a criminal record were part of the reasons he gave him the sentence that he did.

Two other defendants, Wonzey Saffold, 30, and Bruce Wimbush, 18, were sentenced in the case July 7. Saffold received a prison term of 6 years and 4 months to up to 10 years. Wimbush received three years’ probation under a youth offender program. A fifth defendant, who was 16 at the time of the attack, is serving time in a residential correctional program. He pleaded guilty to an assault charge and ethnic intimidation charges were dropped as a result of the plea deal.

In his letter posted on the gofundme website, Utash thanks hospital staff at St. John’s and the Detroit Medical Center Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan for helping with his recovery.

“Everything about what happen to me was worth it to feel the pure love of mankind in its purist form,” he wrote.