A Detroit-area tree-trimmer has returned to work and is expressing his gratitude four months after he was severely beaten by a neighborhood mob when he accidentally hit a 10-year-old who darted in front of his truck.
Steven Utash, 54, says he is grateful for the outpouring of support he has received from his community, thanking friends and strangers alike for the 4,600 donations he received that totaled $188,000, the Detroit Free Press reports.
“All were raising me above the wrong that was done to me,” wrote Utash of Clinton Township, Michigan, in an emotional letter posted by his daughter on a fundraising website set up for his care.
“When the whole world is on your side, it’s a great feeling,” he added.
Two men have been convicted in the April mob-style attack, which occurred after Utash got out of his vehicle to help the boy, according to the newspaper. Two other assailants who admitted to their role in the beating await sentencing after accepting plea deals.
The boy, David Harris, broke his foot and cut his mouth after running into Utash’s truck, WXYZ Detroit reports.
Utash, who suffered severe head injuries after he was attacked by about 20 people on Detroit’s east side, was in a medically induced coma for a time but told supporters that he was fine and found “no damage to my mind and body.”
In the letter, he thanked a nurse who was in the crowd after his accident and stepped in to stop the assault, as well as other medical personnel who cared for him during his ordeal.
“I’ll always remember all of you loving people,” Utash wrote. “Thank you to Debbie Hughes who threw her body over mine to stop the crowd from killing me, she sure is a brave woman. Also, thank you to all the medical people that surrounded me. I notice people in the medical field are all angels here to make other people s life continue. Without them, where would we go?”
He added that his dreadful experience had not dimmed his optimism about people.
“Everything about what happened to me was worth it to feel the pure love of mankind in its purest form,” he wrote. “People are love, and I love you all.