Josuel Galdino, 25, was charged with manslaughter, driving while intoxicated and felony hit-and-run after calling police early Sunday to report a man's body was caught in his vehicle's front-end suspension.
Fairfax County Police spokeswoman Sophia Grinnan said the victim was Fitsum Gebreegziabher, 27, who was hit on the Interstate 95 southwest of Washington.
Galdino's lawyer, Daniel Lopez, said neither his client nor a passenger in the car realized they had hit someone.
"A passenger who was with him told me he didn't know there was a body on the car until they got back to the house and the body fell off," Lopez said.
Lopez told CBS radio affiliate WTOP he was shocked that police charged Galdino with DWI. He said Galdino did not appear or smell as though he had been drinking.
Galdino, a domestic worker for an employee of the Brazilian Embassy in Washington, was held without bond pending an arraignment Monday.
"He was devastated," Lopez said of Galdino. "This was an accident in the pure sense of the word."