Detroit beating victim's family meet woman who saved him

Retired nurse Deborah Hughes is woman who stepped in to save driver Steve Utash as he was beaten by mob

DETROIT – Deborah Hughes is the retired nurse who rushed to save Steve Utash as he was being beaten by an angry mob.

On Tuesday, Hughes met Utash's family for the first time.

"I went to your dad and he was unconscious, he wasn't doing anything," Hughes told Utash's son, Joe Utash.

Steve Utash accidentally struck a 10-year-old boy with his pickup truck when the boy stepped in front of the vehicle April 2 on Morang Street near Balfour Street. The boy, David Harris, suffered minor injuries. At least a half-dozen men jumped Utash after he stopped to help.

Utash remains in critical condition. Two men and a teen face charges.

Hughes might be the one person who can help this family understand what really happened that day.

"I go over there and I say, 'Don't nobody else hit him. Don't put your hands on him. Leave him alone!' And everybody backed up and let me go to work on your dad," she said.

She described to Joe how she helped his father, who had suffered critical injuries. Awake for just a moment, Steve Utash asked Hughes just one question.

"He said, 'Is the boy dead?' That's all I heard him say and I said, 'No baby. He's gonna be fine,'" she said.

Before Hughes met with the Utash family, she met with Detroit Police Chief James Craig, who simply wanted to say thank you.

"Just her presence, offering aid to this gentleman, may have saved his life," said Craig.

Hughes has spent her life saving lives, first as a nurse and now as a woman who knew she had to do something, anything to help a man in need.

About the Author:

Hank Winchester is Local 4's Consumer Investigative Reporter and the head of WDIV's "Help Me Hank" Consumer Unit. He works to solve consumer complaints, reveal important recalls and track down thieves who have ripped off metro Detroiters.