Charlie Davies says he wasn't driver
American forward Charlie Davies says he was not the driver of a car stopped going 125 mph last weekend, but told French police he was in order to protect a teammate.
Davies, who nearly died in a car crash last year, told The Associated Press Saturday that Jacques Faty, a teammate at French club Sochaux, asked him to switch places and tell police he was driving because Faty thought his license was still suspended from a previous speeding infraction. Faty said he thought police would only fine Davies, but Faty feared he would be jailed.
IN HIS WORDS
Learning to walk again, hoping to gain feeling in his left hand -- Charlie Davies chronicles his path from the horrific October 2009 car accident to his return to pro soccer.Story
"That's not possible for me to go 120 mph on the road after an accident and think everything will be fine," Davies said. "If a kid survives such a serious accident and then almost exactly a year later is driving at a reckless speed, it's like, 'This can't be serious.' ... If someone has a second chance like I do, to take advantage of something like that, it's not something I could do. I learned too much from the whole experience to let something like that happen."
Faty told the AP he plans to go to the police this week and clear up the incident.
A police spokeswoman for the French gendarmerie's highway patrol section in the eastern city of Dole, which handled the infraction, declined to comment.
The 24-year-old Davies was involved in a car accident on Oct. 13, 2009 in Virginia that killed another passenger and left him severely hurt. He was not the driver. He suffered two broken bones in his right leg, a broken and dislocated left elbow, a broken nose, forehead and eye socket, a ruptured bladder and bleeding on the brain.
Davies returned to training with Sochaux in March. He missed the World Cup in South Africa and is playing with Sochaux's reserves while he tries to work his way back to the first team.
Sochaux players were given four days off after beating Lens 3-0 last Saturday, and Davies said he decided to fly back to Boston, where he played in college.
Davies said he doesn't drive in France and, knowing that Faty was going back to Paris, he asked if he could get a ride.
Davies said he was lying down in the passenger seat of the Audi Q7 as they drove.
"Everything seemed fine. I knew he was driving a little fast but didn't know he was driving as fast as he was," Davies said. "Then I saw a blue flash from a police car."
Faty said he "was in a panic and afraid" as they pulled over to wait for the police van to reach them on a motorway in France's Jura region.
"I asked Charlie to take my place," Faty said. "Charlie is an American, in France. I thought it would be easier."
The windows of the SUV were tinted, so police couldn't see the players switching seats.
Davies said he was hesitant at first.
"I was like, 'Jacques, I don't think I can do this.' He was like, 'No, trust me, it'll be easy. If you don't, I'll go to prison and you'll be stranded here,' " Davies said.
When police approached, Davies said they asked if he knew how fast he had been going. Davies said he didn't, and the police took both players to the police station. Davies was told his license would be suspended, and he wouldn't be able to drive in France for six months.
While there, police ran Faty's record and told him his license was no longer suspended.
"I'm sorry for Charlie, I'm sorry for his family," Faty said. "I never expected a problem like this. ... I made a mistake, and I will fix everything now."
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press