An 57-year-old islander is facing charges in connection to the death of beloved resident Nathan Dorn, Jr., who was fatally struck by a hit-and-run driver while walking along Vashon Highway in early April.
Michael Henderson was charged on April 12 with two felony counts — vehicular homicide and hit-and-run — by the King County Prosecutor’s Office.
Henderson remains in custody with bail set at $100,000.
On the evening of April 4, Dorn — who was wearing a bright yellow reflective vest — was walking along the highway shoulder when he was struck by a driver. Another island resident found Dorn’s body around 11 p.m. and called 911.
In charging documents provided to The Beachcomber by the prosecutor’s office, the state argued that Henderson is “a flight risk.”
“He is also a grave danger to the community,” the document added. “He knows he is an alcoholic and knows the dangers of driving impaired but cannot or will not refrain from driving impaired.”
Henderson has multiple driving under the influence offenses, as well as other driving offenses. He also had an active bench warrant for failure to appear in court that has been in place since 2018 for a 2012 DUI that occurred in Ruston.
Charging documents cited evidence provided by Vashon community members who suspected Henderson of the crime.
The state also recommended a condition of Henderson’s release be on electronic home detention. According to the charging documents, Henderson is homeless and lives in his car on Vashon.
“EHD is among conditions we’re asking for if a judge releases him or if he posts bail,” said Casey McNerthney, director of communications for the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office, in an email to The Beachcomber. “… EHD requires a valid address and for someone to be on EHD, their valid address has to be approved by a judge.”
McNerthney added that Henderson would also be subject to additional conditions if released on bail or by a judge, such as no alcohol or non-prescribed drugs, no entering into a business where alcohol or marijuana is the primary commodity for sale and no driving without filing proof of a valid license, insurance, and no moving violations.
If Henderson was released on bail, the state requested the judge to enroll him on alcohol monitoring within 24 hours of his release as well.
Within the charging documents, the state also said that they would be “amenable to a LEAD [Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion] referral, as the defendant does not appear to have eligible housing for EHD.”
According to the LEAD program website, the program is “a collaborative community safety effort that offers law enforcement a credible alternative to booking people into jail for criminal activity that stems from unmet behavioral needs or poverty.”
McNerthney stressed that in Henderson’s case, this would not be a criminal case referral to the LEAD program, and charges are not going away. The program deals with two types of referrals — criminal and social.
For Henderson, McNerthney said, the state would seek a social referral for housing if he was released by a judge or posted bail.
“The social LEAD referral does not change our $100,000 bail request or argument that Mr. Henderson is a flight risk and grave danger to the community,” said McNerthney. “We’re saying that if he posts bail on that $100,000 or if he’s released by a judge, we’re amenable to a social referral to LEAD for housing.”
Henderson’s next court date is at 8:30 a.m. Monday, April 25 in room E1201A of the King County Courthouse.