Judge OKs Trial in Beating of Detroit Driver Who'd Stopped After Hitting Child

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
April 22 2014 12:24 PM

Judge OKs Attempted Murder Trial in Beating of Detroit Driver Who'd Stopped After Running Into Child

Defendants Wonzy Saffold, James Davis, Latrez Cummings and Bruce Wimbush Jr.

Photo by Rebecca Cook/Reuters

A Michigan judge found probable cause Monday to try four men for "assault with intent to murder" (which carries a potential life sentence) in the severe beating of a landscaper who stopped his truck after accidentally hitting a child. The child survived the accident with a broken leg. A fifth suspect is charged with "ethnic intimidation" (the victim was white and the accused are all black). The New York Times has an intense story about the case:

As Mr. Utash drove his pickup truck on the city’s East Side, a 10-year-old boy suddenly stepped into the street, the authorities said, and Mr. Utash’s truck hit him. Mr. Utash pulled over to check on the boy, whose leg was broken and whose mouth was bleeding. Soon after, a crowd descended on Mr. Utash, 54, beating and kicking him until he lost consciousness and was left in critical condition.

Utash survived but is unable to speak coherently, his family said. A retired nurse who lived near the scene of the incident helped stop the attack on Utash and provided treatment on the scene to the injured child.

Both the Detroit News and Detroit Free Press accounts of yesterday's hearing describe it as unusually chaotic—"raucous" is the News' term. Both note that some supporters of the defendants were heard laughing during proceedings; the News says the laughter occurred during a prosecutor's description of the beating.

Correction, April 22, 2014: This post originally misstated that four suspects are accused of murder. They are accused of assault with intent to murder. (The victim in the case is still alive.)

Ben Mathis-Lilley edits the Slatest. Follow @Slatest on Twitter.



Meet the New Bosses

How the Republicans would run the Senate.

The Government Is Giving Millions of Dollars in Electric-Car Subsidies to the Wrong Drivers

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Photos of the Crowds That Took Over NYC for the People’s Climate March

Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom

The Eye

This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059

Medical Examiner

Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?  

A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.

I Wrote a Novel Envisioning a Nigerian Space Program. Then I Learned Nigeria Actually Has One.

A Futurama Writer on How the Vietnam War Shaped the Series

  News & Politics
Sept. 21 2014 11:34 PM People’s Climate March in Photos Hundreds of thousands of marchers took to the streets of NYC in the largest climate rally in history.
Business Insider
Sept. 22 2014 9:39 AM Adrian Peterson Has a Terrible Contract, and Cutting Him Would Save the Vikings a Lot of Money
The Eye
Sept. 22 2014 9:12 AM What Is This Singaporean Road Sign Trying to Tell Us?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Sept. 22 2014 8:08 AM Slate Voice: “Why Is So Much Honey Clover Honey?” Mike Vuolo shares the story of your honey.
Sept. 21 2014 9:00 PM Attractive People Being Funny While Doing Amusing and Sometimes Romantic Things Don’t dismiss it. Friends was a truly great show.
Future Tense
Sept. 22 2014 7:47 AM Predicting the Future for the U.S. Government The strange but satisfying work of creating the National Intelligence Council’s Global Trends report.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 22 2014 5:30 AM MAVEN Arrives at Mars
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.