Man charged with murder admits to drinking before striking 58-year-old man with his car

When asked if he had been drinking the night police say Michael Fenderson fatally struck a 58-year-old man, Fenderson told police “he had been drinking beer, rum and Hennessy,” according to charging documents.

Saturday morning around 3 a.m. police were called to 1200 block of Eastern Ave., NE on reports of a car accident. Upon police arrival, they found Lionel Bruce trapped between two vehicles and Fenderson, 57, staggering around the back of his car “keeping a hand on the vehicle to steady his balance.”

While on the scene police saw Fenderson throw a solo red cup onto the grass area next to his car, which smelled strongly of alcohol.

When asked about the incident, Fenderson told police with a blank stare and dilated pupils that a car in front of him stopped quickly and caused him to crash into it. According to police, Fenderson was unaware that he had hit a pedestrian.

Upon further investigation, police found that Fenderson was driving in the parking lane on the 1200 block of Eastern Avenue and struck Bruce who was standing behind a black Dodge Charger parked on the street. Due to the impact, Fenderson’s car allegedly pinned Bruce to the Charger and pushed the Charger along with another parked car approximately 41 feet before stopping.

Police asked Fenderson if he had been drinking which he replied with several different answers including that he had been drinking beer, rum and Hennessy. According to charging documents, Fenderson also told police he was taking painkillers, though he refused to take a sobriety test.

Complaining of knee pain, Fenderson was then brought to a nearby hospital where he refused all chemical tests.

Based on officer’s observations, Fenderson’s slurred speech, staggered walking and demeanor, police determined Fenderson was intoxicated and unable to drive safely.

Fenderson was arrested and charged with driving while under the influence, though additional charges were later added in the wake of Bruce’s death.

Fenderson now faces second-degree murder, possession of an open container and driving while under the influence.

The defendant is being held without bond and is expected in court April 5 for a preliminary hearing.

Comments

Comment guidelines:

D.C. Witness is a place where we want our community to come to remember loved ones and comment on homicide cases. These discussions often entail topics that we all personally care a lot about and will passionately discuss. But in order for discussions to thrive here, we need to set a few ground rules. Comments will be edited or deleted if they include vulgarity, name-calling, cursing or inflammatory language. Comments that include unverified information, slander, or hateful speech will be deleted. We reserve the right to edit comments to ensure they reflect the intent of the writer but make them publishable. If you believe your comment has been edited or deleted in error, please contact Jennifer Swift, swift@dcwitness.org