Driver says he was beaten after accident on Detroit's east side - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Driver says he was beaten after accident on Detroit's east side

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DETROIT (WJBK) - "I said are you ok? And he said, 'I'm fine.' I said, 'Did you get hurt from the car accident?' He said, 'No, they got out and they jumped me,'" says witness Irine Smith.

It's the weekend driver attack that has people saying not again.

Thirty-four-year-old Nate Szczerbinski wrecked his car near Vernor and Chalmers Saturday afternoon, but the cuts and bruises you see aren't from the accident. He says he was viciously beaten and called racial slurs by three men in the other car involved in the crash.

"I just was [appalled]. I told him, 'Just lay there for the police.' And we kind of stayed on the scene until two policeman came," Smith says. "He was beat up really bad his left eye was swollen shut. He had lacerations on his forehead, up under his chin and his speech was slurred. And I do believe his speech was slurred because, you know, they beat him all in the face. He had no body trauma that I could see, just from his head up."

Smith works as a nurse. She kept Szczerbinski still until paramedics arrived.

Police say he caused the crash, driving the wrong way down the one-way portion of Vernor after leaving Texas Bar on Detroit's east side. His usual waitress who didn't want her face shown says he's a nice guy who usually orders just one beer.

"Yeah, I am sad to hear what happened to him because [there was] no trouble out of him ever, no bad words, no arguments with anyone, no anything," the waitress says.

The proud new father didn't mention the attack to police at the scene or in the ambulance. He didn't tell police until they followed up at the hospital. Detroit police say one of the men involved in the assault is under arrest. They are looking for two more.

This attack is an eerie reminder of the Steve Utash beating back in April. The 54-year-old was beaten into a coma by a mob after stopping to help a 10-year-old boy who ran into the path of his truck.

Now, some are calling Szczerbinski's attack a hate crime but police are not jumping to conclusions. Neighbors aren't either.

"I don't think it was racially motivated; I think it was ... emotions that just got escalated," Smith says.

Police say they are investigating but they are not calling this a hate crime just yet. The prosecutor will make that determination once the investigation is complete.

FOX 2's Maurielle Lue spoke with Szczerbinski's father off camera. She reports he tells her Nate is at home tonight and will have eye surgery next week.
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