Was Fenty Honest About His Car Accident?

Release of police report raises questions

By JIM NEWELL
|  Thursday, Aug 6, 2009  |  Updated 10:32 AM EDT
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Fenty Defends Fender-Bender Report

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Fenty Defends Fender-Bender Report

Mayor Adrian Fenty describes the crash he was involved in Sunday in Northwest.
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Who could've guessed that when Mayor Adrian Fenty got into a minor car accident at a four-way stop Sunday night, it would become the next Watergate.

The Mayor's story and the police report don't fully add up, even though the "police report" was written by a member of Fenty's security detail. In other words, the Mayor and his staff were lobbed a softball of a cover-up opportunity here, and may have whiffed.

The Washington Post was the first news organization Wednesday to pore through the released police report of the accident and cross-check it with the Fenty spokeswoman's statement from the night of the incident. Its determinations have since been corroborated with those of many other local news outlets:

Spokeswoman Mafara Hobson wrote in an e-mail Sunday that "a vehicle ran a stop sign and pulled out in front of the Mayor's vehicle, causing a collision."

But the accident report indicates that Fenty's Lincoln Navigator was the "striking vehicle" in the crash with the Nissan Pathfinder, driven by James Utt Jr., 19.

While these two accounts "sound" contradictory, they aren't necessarily so: the mayor's SUV would still be considered the "striking vehicle" if Utt's Pathfinder ran the stop sign and got in front of Fenty's car, thereby "causing a collision." Ah, semantics.

Or maybe not? Who knows? More complications from the police report: "It also states that Fenty said his Navigator was struck by the Pathfinder, while the other driver said 'he never saw' Fenty's sport-utility vehicle before the crash."

It seems pretty certain that Fenty's car was the one doing the striking, regardless of whether or not he was at fault. Problem is, we may never know: a member of Fenty's security detail wrote the confusing report rather than a standard police officer, and ignored several police protocols in the process -- including "the omission of the names of Fenty's passengers from the accident form and the failure to take photos at the scene even though a city vehicle was damaged."

Conveniently, this security guard "couldn't determine who was at fault" in the end, and issued no tickets.

For a "no-fault" accident, though, the Mayor and his communications staff sure seemed eager afterward to place the "fault" directly on some 19-year-old kid.

Jim Newell writes for Wonkette and IvyGate.

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