Steven Nzonzi has done nothing wrong says Stoke City boss

Mark Hughes backs player over "good luck in finding me on foreign plates" allegations

by Tony Farrelly   September 14, 2013  

Foreign plates driver (source Mike Jacklin - Facebook)

Mark Hughes, manager of Premiership football club, Stoke City has said that as far as he is concerned Stoke player Steven Nzonzi did nothing wrong in an incident allegedly involving his player a cyclist in Hale Greater Manchester which is said to have concluded with the now infamous words "good luck finding me on foreign plates".

The driver of a French registered Audi is currently being sought by Greater Manchester Police for leaving the scene and failing to provide his details following an incident  on the 5th of September in which a cyclist was injured after he collided with the back of a car which he alleges was being driven erratically.

Nzonzi had been named widely on social media as the driver of the car and yesterday the Daily Mail went further identifying him in print as being the driver involved in the incident.

"Having spoken to him I don't think he has done anything wrong" Hughes told a press conference ahead of Stoke's home game against Manchester City. Hughes though will not be the final arbiter on whether Nzonzi - if it was he - transgressed in leaving the scene of the incident without exchanging details with cyclist Rob Lockhart who says he suffered concussion and a bruised shoulder when collided with the back of a French registers Audi in Hale, on the 6th of September. The driver of the car drove off without giving Lockhart his name with the now infamous words "good luck finding me on foreign plates".

Greater Manchester Police have yet to officially identify the driver involved, yesterday a spokesman told road.cc  “We are still investigating this incident and at the moment, we are working to id the driver.”

When told that the driver had been identified and asked to confirm that he would be interviewed, the police said: "We need to make further inquiries before he is interviewed."

Today Inspector Laura Burgess, from Greater Manchester Police, told the This is Staffordshire website: "The driver failed to stop at the scene and we are making efforts to identify, trace and speak to him.

"Members of the public who witnessed what happened have also helped us and we are pursuing these leads.

"Any information we receive that may help will be acted upon."

25 user comments

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Seen as the comments are open, I shall make one.

This story has gotten dodgyer as the days go on, he was "run down", then he was "knocked down", then he was "clipped" and now finally his story seems to be HE ran into the back of the vehicle.

Well there you have it, in any other circumstance, with two vehicle's. Where the one behind ran into the one in front. It is normally the case that the rear one was following too closely.

We'll see what comes of it. I dont see much happening. Yes he failed to give details and report an accident. So we'll see Thinking

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [9201 posts]
14th September 2013 - 22:21

1 Like

Erm… I'm struggling here Gkam to see how the cyclist's story is "getting dodgier" he's never actually said anything different. The whole point is that the driver failed to give his details and left the scene of an incident in which the other party was allegedly injured. Also while running in to the back of another vehicle in most cases puts you in the wrong - it doesn't do so in every case. And if you have been reading the story closely from the off you would have noticed that it is alleged that the was being driven erratically and that there appear to be witnesses willing to back up that allegation.

Not to say that this hasn't all gotten extraordinarily convoluted

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4178 posts]
14th September 2013 - 22:33

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I'm not saying the driver isn't at fault, it may well be a case of dodgy driver that has caused this incident.

The story seems to have a life of its own since it was posted on facebook and twitter, so maybe I have just caught other people's version, a bit like Chinese whispers. I have also followed the story on here. That's what clouding my judgement, so many different version's going around from the rider and a witness.

We will see what comes of it, but it seems to have turned into a bit of a twitter witch hunt, not unlike another incident I was involved with today on there with another "Emma Way" kind of tweet.

Gkam84's picture

posted by Gkam84 [9201 posts]
14th September 2013 - 23:02

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This seems a bit of a nothing story. The incident itself does not seem to be the worst piece of driving and the major issue was he didn't exchange details.

I think a reprimand is order. And I'm glad Nzonzi has been named and shamed, but beyond that this is a storm brewed in a national newspaper teacup.

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1429 posts]
14th September 2013 - 23:18

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Even if not at fault he has committed an offence by failing to give details to a person reasonably requiring them when injury and damage resulted from the presence of his motor vehicle.

He neatly compounds the offence by actually announcing to the other party and witnesses, that his action of leaving the scene without giving details was a deliberate act to break the law.

Another Emma Way moment?

47 years of breaking bikes and still they offer me a 10 year frame warranty!

A V Lowe's picture

posted by A V Lowe [532 posts]
14th September 2013 - 23:33

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The whole thing does need to be kept in perspective.

Compared to some of what happen on the nation's roads leaving the scene of a minor collision is a relatively trivial matter - although let's not forget someone was injured.

What has given this a life of its own was that remark, the involvment of social media and the fact that being in possession of foreign plates and your own personal money tree does not absolve you from following the same rules and procedures when you're involved in a collision that the rest of us have to.

The irony here is that if the driver had just given his details the whole thing would barely have been newsworthy at all.

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4178 posts]
14th September 2013 - 23:59

1 Like

How can twitter identify him in minutes and yet Manchester's finest, who's kinda job it is to figure this stuff out, have taken days to identify him and nick him?

posted by Some Fella [886 posts]
15th September 2013 - 0:33

1 Like

Gkam84 wrote:

Well there you have it, in any other circumstance, with two vehicle's. Where the one behind ran into the one in front. It is normally the case that the rear one was following too closely.

IANAL. However there are cases where the lead vehicle has been found to be 100% at fault. Surely you won't be staggered by the possibility that someone who:

1) declares a deliberate intent to avoid responsibility with the phrase "good luck finding me on foreign plates"
2) has parked on a double-yellow to use the ATM

might also, just possibly have been the same person who stopped erratically, unpredictably and caused the accident.

Just some small food for thought while you take a dump on your fellow cyclist.

posted by Ush [467 posts]
15th September 2013 - 4:02

2 Likes

Colin Peyresourde wrote:
This seems a bit of a nothing story. The incident itself does not seem to be the worst piece of driving and the major issue was he didn't exchange details.

He says, steepling primly while not involved in the incident.

Colin Peyresourde wrote:

I think a reprimand is order. And I'm glad Nzonzi has been named and shamed, but beyond that this is a storm brewed in a national newspaper teacup.

No, the newspapers picked up on this after it was an internet story... one in which cyclists, including Sir Chris Hoy attempted to make sure that one of our own was not left hung out to dry by a lazy, incompetent police force.

A reprimand seems insufficient for someone that is apparently such a reckless and callous individual. The license to operate an automobile should not be extended to such a numpty.

posted by Ush [467 posts]
15th September 2013 - 4:09

1 Like

If Manchester CPS are anything like London CPS, leaving the scene, even with witnesses, is not worth prosecuting (my witnesses to the leaver where an off duty police Sargent and two ambulance people) go figure...

posted by guidob [57 posts]
15th September 2013 - 5:48

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I would have thought that parking on double yellows, obstructing a bus stop zone and parking adjacent to a junction would be good for, at best, a conversation regarding his driving practices. At worst, is the driver actually aware of the meaning of double yellows and is he aware of the dangers he is creating by his actions. Maybe his driving style is okay for the sleepy French towns or chaos of Paris - but Hale....?

posted by kwozzymodo [2 posts]
15th September 2013 - 7:41

1 Like

Gkam84 wrote:
It is normally the case that the rear one was following too closely.

Depends on the circumstances - I recently had a black cab overtake and dive directly in front of me to the kerb to pick up a fare. Yay for disc brakes, stopped to have a quick word with the driver and the passenger apologised (WTF moment of the week).

All okay, driver learnt something, and I got to work on time and in one piece. A faster rider on faster bike, with caliper brakes (i.e. Mr Lockhart on all three counts) would have got a faceful of rear windscreen.

[Edit] As far as a criminal investigation goes, a failing to stop would appear to be a slam dunk. Driving without due care is arguable, Mr Loophole would be chomping at the bit to have a go at defending that one. Any civil claim against the driver/insurance company would be... interesting, depending on whether the [civil] defendant's insurer decides to play hardball, or try and settle matters at an early stage with a Part 36 offer. It's one of the files that's usually kicked upstairs by the defending insurer due to the high profile nature of the claim/policyholder, so not sure what tack they'd take.

posted by Argos74 [327 posts]
15th September 2013 - 7:44

1 Like

Some Fella wrote:
How can twitter identify him in minutes and yet Manchester's finest, who's kinda job it is to figure this stuff out, have taken days to identify him and nick him?

Twitter has "identified" a likely candidate by putting together 2+2 and ending up with sort of 4 and a quarter.

Someone reckoned they've seen the car in Hale before, someone has seen it leaving Stoke FC, a black guy plays for Stoke (and also happens to be from the area where the car is registered to and lives in Hale) so conclusions have been reached. It may not have been Nzonzi - by all accounts he either can't drive or is banned from driving, I heard he had a chaffeur to take him everywhere - but Twitter seems to have seized on it and what started out as a suggestion (it *might* be...) has become absolute fact. Cyclists really don't do themselves many favours sometimes on social media, it can so easily turn into a witch hunt.

Got to say though, that's some shocking "parking" - on the exit to a junction, about 1m out from the kerb on double yellows AND a bus stop! Rolling Eyes

If the car had just overtaken, gone round the corner then slammed on the brakes I'm not sure many riders would have avoided it.

posted by crazy-legs [615 posts]
15th September 2013 - 8:12

1 Like

Rear-ending is just an example of presumed liability.

The following vehicle is assumed to be at fault unless they can prove otherwise, for instance if the car in front swerved in front and braked heavily.

Thats why its used in cash-for-crash scams.

posted by ribena [165 posts]
15th September 2013 - 13:42

0 Likes

Who gives a toss what Mark Hughes thinks, he should concentrate on being a football manager, something which he needs a bit more practice, and leave the decisions as to whether the law has been broken to those that can.

posted by Xrecymech [10 posts]
15th September 2013 - 14:07

1 Like

crazy-legs wrote:
Some Fella wrote:
How can twitter identify him in minutes and yet Manchester's finest, who's kinda job it is to figure this stuff out, have taken days to identify him and nick him?

Twitter has "identified" a likely candidate by putting together 2+2 and ending up with sort of 4 and a quarter.

Someone reckoned they've seen the car in Hale before, someone has seen it leaving Stoke FC, a black guy plays for Stoke (and also happens to be from the area where the car is registered to and lives in Hale) so conclusions have been reached. It may not have been Nzonzi - by all accounts he either can't drive or is banned from driving, I heard he had a chaffeur to take him everywhere - but Twitter seems to have seized on it and what started out as a suggestion (it *might* be...) has become absolute fact.

If that is the case - one phone call or a quick search on police computer would rule him out of the 'investigation' and they would (should) say so.
Also - just because he is banned doesnt mean he doesnt drive his car. Footballers tend to disregard small details like driving bans.

posted by Some Fella [886 posts]
15th September 2013 - 15:37

1 Like

He could be caught for leaving the scene of an accident. At the very least he should have stayed to check the cyclist was ok, and to get him help if he needed it.

Not sure whether the cyclist knew in time, but if I end up riding (or driving) behind a driver that is driving erratically I give them a lot of space and stay well back. If someone is driving like that, then the chances are that they will do something unexpected, so you need to give your self time to react. It's not worth getting annoyed with them and riding / driving aggressively, especially if you're on a bike - you'll most likely come off worse.

posted by Flippa [36 posts]
15th September 2013 - 19:55

2 Likes

He's not the Messiah......

posted by Sara_H [57 posts]
15th September 2013 - 23:22

1 Like

I didn't realise Mark Hughes was also a legal expert Thinking

posted by thereverent [334 posts]
16th September 2013 - 9:06

2 Likes

It may not even get recorded as an RTC if they deem the driver not to be at fault. If thats the case then you can understand why when you read the defintion.

Definition of a road traffic collision

The law defines a reportable road traffic collision as an accident involving a mechanically-propelled vehicle on a road or other public area which causes:
Injury or damage to anybody - other than the driver of that vehicle,
Injury or damage to an animal- other than one being carried on that vehicle (an animal is classes as a horse, cattle, ass, mule, sheep, pig, goat or dog).
Damage to a vehicle - other than the vehicle which caused the accident.

If this is the case then the cyclist is the party at fault and only damage caused / injury received is his.

Its open to conjecture but that is the definition that has to be followed whether you like it or not.

There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.

posted by stumps [3034 posts]
16th September 2013 - 10:25

3 Likes

stumps wrote:
It may not even get recorded as an RTC if they deem the driver not to be at fault. If thats the case then you can understand why when you read the defintion.

Definition of a road traffic collision

The law defines a reportable road traffic collision as an accident involving a mechanically-propelled vehicle on a road or other public area which causes:
Injury or damage to anybody - other than the driver of that vehicle,
Injury or damage to an animal- other than one being carried on that vehicle (an animal is classes as a horse, cattle, ass, mule, sheep, pig, goat or dog).
Damage to a vehicle - other than the vehicle which caused the accident.

If this is the case then the cyclist is the party at fault and only damage caused / injury received is his.

Its open to conjecture but that is the definition that has to be followed whether you like it or not.

I agree. Nzonzi is obviously not schooled in the ways of PR and the cyclist has turned this into something bigger than it actually is (if he and his bike were not damaged).

Although the testamony of the locals who saw it seem to suggest that Nzonzi did not pull a proper manoeuvre, it hardly seems all the bother that it has created. In fact that does have the potential for making the cyclist look a tit for causing all the bother.

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1429 posts]
16th September 2013 - 10:34

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I haven't seen any pictures of a smashed bike yet, not even on Twitter.

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1429 posts]
16th September 2013 - 10:40

1 Like

Xrecymech wrote:
Who gives a toss what Mark Hughes thinks, he should concentrate on being a football manager, something which he needs a bit more practice, and leave the decisions as to whether the law has been broken to those that can.

Totally agree with that; footballers aren't paragons of morality are they?

posted by zalamanda [12 posts]
16th September 2013 - 10:57

1 Like

Ush wrote:
Colin Peyresourde wrote:
This seems a bit of a nothing story. The incident itself does not seem to be the worst piece of driving and the major issue was he didn't exchange details.

Ush wrote:

He says, steepling primly while not involved in the incident.

I agree that the incident was note worthy at the time, but there are no pictures of a 'smashed' bike. We only have the word of a man and his friends who may be taking umbrage at a driver for a slight which has embarrassed the cyclist. No pictures of an injury and on twitter the rider seems to be 'fine'.
Colin Peyresourde wrote:

I think a reprimand is order. And I'm glad Nzonzi has been named and shamed, but beyond that this is a storm brewed in a national newspaper teacup.

Ush wrote:

No, the newspapers picked up on this after it was an internet story... one in which cyclists, including Sir Chris Hoy attempted to make sure that one of our own was not left hung out to dry by a lazy, incompetent police force.

A reprimand seems insufficient for someone that is apparently such a reckless and callous individual. The license to operate an automobile should not be extended to such a numpty.

He may have not shown proper road awareness, but can every road user, cyclist/motorist/pedestrian say he has not had a moment of inattentiveness? Get over yourself.

I don't really care who has retweeted what, Sir Chris Hoy was not there and is not aware of all the facts, and neither are any of us. We only have one side of the story and in fact he seems to have retracted his comments about damage to his bike and the damage to him seems to be mostly his pride in smashing into the back of a car and his worry about his 'professional racing bike'.

I also feel that the fact that he wants to down play the issue:

Quote:

“Up to now the information has been extracted solely from various social media feeds,” said Rob, who is concerned that speculation on the incident has distorted the facts. Nevertheless he has expressed gratitude for the response of the online cycling community in trying to track down the driver.

Let us give this another narrative from the bits and pieces we have: Mr Lockhart was following too closely and either did not register a signal to pull-over, disregarded the brake lights on Mr Nzonzi's car and smashed into the back of him. Mr Nzonzi gets out his car, speaks to the cyclist to find out if he is OK, not feeling he had done anything wrong, not seeing any visible damage to his car, Mr Lockhart or his bike, goes about his business.

Mr Lockhart, being shocked and embarrassed in front of his friends and strangers and particularly fraught about the possibility of unseen damage to his carbon bike starts to harangue Mr Nzonzi requesting his insurance details. Mr Nzonzi, fearing that as he is sports star is being 'fitted' up Nzonzi decides to leave, making his remark about his license plate. Mr Lockhart and his friends, realising that he is sports star of sorts, and wishing some sort of retribution act like a cabal by firing out pictures of his car in to the social media, with a wish to embarrass Mr Nzonzi....

I'm not saying that the narrative I have cooked up is true, but it is possible and you should be mindful of this before you start snarling at people for their opinions. After all Mr Nzonzi was smart enough not to tweet 'Definitely knocked a cyclist off his bike - Bloodycyclist'. I am suggesting that in all probability this case is not serious and not worth the attention it has received and given Mr Lockhart's own statements, not one worth the police time. After all I would rather they caught the idiot who broke into my car trying to hot wire it, failed and left his phone in my car.....I handed that into the police and nothing came of it - I don't think they even bothered.

posted by Colin Peyresourde [1429 posts]
16th September 2013 - 11:17

1 Like

zalamanda wrote:
Xrecymech wrote:
Who gives a toss what Mark Hughes thinks, he should concentrate on being a football manager, something which he needs a bit more practice, and leave the decisions as to whether the law has been broken to those that can.

Totally agree with that; footballers aren't paragons of morality are they?

And Lance Armstrong is such a fantastic role model also!!

posted by freespirit1 [206 posts]
17th September 2013 - 7:55

1 Like