ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Michigan point guard Zavier Simpson initially lied to Ann Arbor police, waiting over a week to tell them he was the driver in a one-car crash with a traffic sign and utility pole, AAPD Lt. Renee Bush told ESPN on Friday.
Bush, citing the police report, said Simpson admitted Wednesday that he was the driver of the Toyota RAV4 that crashed into a traffic sign and wooden utility pole in late January. Simpson, 22, also told the officer that the crash was related to weather and possibly hitting a patch of ice.
The registered owner of the vehicle is Chrislan Manuel, the wife of Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel. Simpson told police at the scene of the accident that the car belonged to his friend Evan Manuel, Michigan's student manager for basketball and the AD's son. Evan Manuel was not mentioned in the police report as being at the scene at the time of the crash.
Michigan coach Juwan Howard on Friday dismissed concerns that Simpson was driving a car owned by the Manuel family, saying that it was personal and not up to him to say whose car Simpson should drive.
Simpson, who was not hurt in the crash, was ticketed for a basic violation of speed law, which carries a $130 fine. The crash was discovered around 3:03 a.m. on Jan. 26 by officers patrolling the area.
Three people were standing by the scene when police arrived. An unnamed man and woman told police they were walking by, noticed the vehicle and did not know who was driving.
The third person at the scene was Simpson, who told police at the time that he thought it was Evan Manuel's car and that he had stopped to see what happened. Initially, Simpson gave police a false name and said he did not know who was driving the car.
Officers at the scene quickly recognized Simpson as a member of the Michigan basketball team and asked him why he lied about who he was. He then said he didn't want to be involved, Bush said.
Officers on the scene reported they "did not smell the odor of intoxicants on Mr. Simpson's person," according to Bush, and they could not establish him as the driver of the vehicle by either seeing him drive the car or statements from Simpson or witnesses, so a Breathalyzer test was not administered.
Simpson was suspended by Michigan on Jan. 27 for a violation of team rules -- Howard on Friday said it was for missing curfew --- and missed the Wolverines' 79-68 win at Nebraska on Jan. 28.
He was reinstated before Michigan's next game, a 69-63 win over Rutgers on Feb. 1.
Howard said the team has "moved on" from the incident.
"That right there was something that he's aware of, as well as all of his other teammates," Howard said Friday. "Being out that time of the evening is not acceptable and we all have those types of rules that we have to abide by. That was something that I was not happy with at all, whatsoever. So I felt that it was important that no matter who you are, whether you're my best player or my 15th player, that there are rules that you have to respect."
Howard said he wanted to find out what the police report had said and that when it didn't come out fast enough following the crash, he was comfortable with the one-game suspension.
"I still live by that," Howard said.
Howard said he's had one-on-one discussions with Simpson and that Simpson understands where Howard is coming from and the "rules that are in place."