A man who couldn't find his vehicle after leaving it parked near the U Street nightlife area tried to report it stolen — only to learn that the car had become part of a crime scene when police found a dead man in the front passenger seat.
Alexander MacLennan parked his car near the intersection of 8th and U Streets Northwest on Friday evening before heading to a restaurant in the Atlantic Plumbing building. After having a few drinks with his partner, MacLennan told News4 that he decided to return for his car in the morning.
But overnight, the car became a crime scene related to a homicide.
Police were called about 7:40 a.m. Saturday and found a man in the front passenger seat of MacLennan's Mazda. The man in the car was showing no signs of life, police said.
One woman, who was nearby when police arrived and wished to remain anonymous when speaking to News4, described a disturbing scene: "I got here at 8 o'clock in the morning and the police just found the guy in the car. And they opened the car up and they said he fell out. And then they put the white sheet on him."
"I couldn't tell whether he was Spanish or white," she said. "But he looked like maybe in his thirties."
Shortly after police arrived, the man was declared dead. Police haven't released any identifying information or a cause of death.
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The glove compartment of the car was also damaged, police said.
MacLennan said he returned on Saturday morning, but couldn't access the street because police had it blocked off. MacLennan says he left to run a few errands before returning.
But his car wasn't there.
"We just assumed it was stolen and having seen the police there earlier in the day, I just thought maybe… I don't know… something got smashed," he told News4.
He says he called the police to report the vehicle stolen. A detective returned the call, asked a few questions and then broke the news: his car was part of a homicide investigation.
"It's freaky," MacLennan said. "We were definitely freaked out."
MacLennan says he still hasn't gotten his car back.
"It's kind of a little creepy to know someone died in the front seat," he said. "They haven't told us a lot, but I guess I'll see it when I get it back."