D.C. police officers pursuing a drug suspect collided with a car full of civilians at 14th and U streets NW yesterday afternoon, injuring six persons and attracting a hostile crowd that flung bottles, surrounded the police car and jeered at the officers.
At least two persons were arrested on disorderly conduct charges near the scene, a principal inner-city intersection, before the crowd, estimated by police at 300 to 400 persons, was dispersed, according to officers in the 3rd District.
The police car's driver, who was among those injured, was Sgt. Claude S. Malcomb, whose casual plainclothes attire and aggressive tactics have earned him the nickname of Cowboy on the streets and corners of the area where he is assigned to curb drug trafficking.
After the collision, according to police reinforcements sent to the site, many bystanders and onlookers flocked around Malcomb's disabled cruiser and, after recognizing the injured sergeant, began to rock the vehicle and chant taunts at him.
Malcomb and another officer who was in the back seat of his car, Timothy D. Allman, were treated at the Washington Hospital Center, Malcomb for fractured ribs and Allman for cuts.
The four persons in the other car, which was not involved in the chase, all were treated at Howard University Hospital for a variety of head, neck and back injuries.
According to preliminary accounts, the incident--which happened shortly after 5:30 p.m. during the peak of the rush hour--began when police received a tip that a man at the intersection was holding drugs.
Provided by radio with the tip, along with a description of the suspect, Malcomb, Allman and a third officer, Thomas Monahan, all in the same cruiser, headed through the homebound traffic for the intersection.
On reaching the scene, the officers scanned the crowd. When they failed initially to catch sight of anyone matching the radioed description, Malcomb turned the car around, and the police continued their hurried scrutiny.
Suddenly, one of the officers saw a suspect. Malcomb pulled the car to the curb to allow Monahan to jump out.
Just then the man began to run, police said, and Monahan began chasing him on foot.
Malcomb made a U-turn to join the pursuit in the police car. As he turned, police reported, Malcomb turned on the car's siren and flashing red lights.
Almost immediately, according to police accounts, the cruiser collided with what witnesses described as a dark brown, four-door sedan.
Attracted by the sounds of the chase and the collision, the crowd began to swell.
Within a brief period, some persons began surging toward the police car, "a few bottles" were thrown, officers said, and additional police officers--eventually to number about two dozen--reached the scene.
The officers began urging the crowd to move back from the cars. Although some of them appeared sullen, most complied.
One woman was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct.
Officer Monahan, who originally set out in pursuit of the alleged drug suspect, arrested a man who was charged with disorderly conduct, police said.
The four persons injured in the private car were identified as Marie Carter, 36, and her husband, Raymond Carter, 40, of 503 Greenlawn Dr., Hyattsville; Ruby Abney, 24, of 1424 Chapin St. NW, and William Braxton, 39, of the Greenlawn Drive address. Braxton and Raymond Carter were treated at Howard University Hospital and released. The other two were in satisfactory condition, hospital officials said.