A 23-year-old Washington man being booked on a drunk driving charge early yesterday commandeered the arresting officer's scout car, led other police on a chase near Capitol Hill and was finally rearrested when the scout car crashed in Southeast Washington.
D.C. Police said Officer R.E. Hinckle had stopped a car driven by Abraham Johnson, of 1011 Seventh St. SE, at about 12:45 a.m. at Third and H streets NW and charged Johnson with drunk driving.
Hinckle had placed Johnsn in the detention "cage" in the rear of his scout car and was walking over to Johnson's car to lock it up, police said, when Johnson forced his way into the front seat of the scout car through a plexiglass shield separating it from the rear cage and drove off.
Hinckle called for help, and other scout cars began pursuing Johnson who fled south through the Third Street tunnel under the Mall in front of the Capitol, police said Johnson meandered through Southeast, eventually crashing into an unoccupied parked car at Fourth and L streets and came to a halt, police said.
Johnson, who was not injured, was rearrested and charged not only with drunk driving, but also with reckless driving and unauthorized use of a vehicle. Police estimated damage to the scout car at $200 and to the parked civillian car at $450.
Police theorized that Johnson, who was not handcuffed was able to get out of the detention cage and into the front seat of the scout car because a locking device separating the two sections of the car was unlatched.