Paul Henderson, 26, a reporter and anchorman for WJLA-TV (Channel 7), was killed early Thursday when the car he was driving ran out of control and rolled over in Northwest Washington.

Police said Mr. Henderson, who was alone in the vehicle, may have fallen asleep at the wheel. His car jumped a curb in the 100 block of Missouri Avenue NW, struck a utility pole and then turned over. The accident occurred about 4 a.m. Mr. Henderson was pronounced dead at the Washington Hospital Center at 4:35 a.m.

WJLA-TV station manager Tom Cookerly described Mr. Henderson as "one of those unusual young broadcast talents whose skill and ability was immediately apparent. During the 18 months he had been with the station he served as News 7s District correspondent and was recently named weekend anchor. His future in this industry was virtually unlimited."

Mr. Henderson was born in Youngstown, Ohio, attended Youngstown University, and began his broadcast career in 1969 for WKBN-TV in Youngstown. He became director of minority affairs at the station, an affiliate of the Columbia Broadcasting System, and remained there until 1972. He later was a reporter or anchorman at stations in Dayton, Ohio, Peoria, Ill., and Dallas, Tex. before joining WJLA-TV here in February 1977.

WJLA-TV announced that it has established a Paul Henderson Scholarship Fund at the Howard University School of Communications in Mr. Henderson's memory.

Mr. Henderson's survivors include his mother Glladys Pannel, and a brother, Jack Pannel, both of Youngstown.