Police from five Washington-area forces gave chase for 45 minutes early yesterday morning to two men driving wildly in a silver-gray Audi. Sometimes hitting speeds of 100 miles per hour, the chase began in a Silver Spring parking lot, sped through the District and ended in a ditch in Prince George's County after the Audi was struck from behind by a Maryland State Police cruiser.

The driver of the Audi, believed to be armed, escaped into nearby woods. The passenger, a 26-year-old District man, is in the Montgomery County detention center charged with assault with intent to murder, a credit card violation and being an accessory to several traffic violations.

Montgomery County police spokesman Cpl. Philip Caswell said the chase began shortly after 1 a.m. when two men tried to use a stolen credit card to buy a radio from a Drug Fair store at Colesville Road and Georgia Avenue in Silver Spring. A suspicious clerk refused to accept the card, and a plainclothes police officer in the store radioed for a uniformed officer. When the uniformed officer arrived, the two officers watched the two men get into an Audi, and followed them to the parking lot of a Greyhound Bus terminal at nearby Sligo Avenue and Fenton Street.

There, Caswell said, the Audi drove into the side of an unmarked police car and attempted to run over a uniformed officer getting out of another car. A plainclothes officer fired at the Audi, which sped away.

The Audi headed south on Georgia Avenue, according to police, turned onto Blair Road and headed south into the District. With one District police car joining the two Montgomery County cars in pursuit, the Audi headed north on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway into Prince George's County.

There the chase was joined by U.S. Park Police, Prince George's County police and state police from the College Park barracks. At one stage, according to some participants, there were six police cars racing after the Audi.

The Audi turned onto the Beltway heading south, then started back toward the District on Central Avenue, with a Montgomery County cruiser and a state police car close behind. The Audi attempted to ram the police cars by making sudden lane shifts, according to state police.

Finally, State Police Cpl. Milton Lilley said he lost patience. "I just decided to give him a taste of his own medicine," Lilley said after the chase. "So I rammed him in the rear at about 70 miles an hour." The Audi went off Central Avenue near Shady Glen Drive in Millwood, struck a utility pole and overturned.

The passenger, identified as Russell Nathaniel Carter, 26, of 1006 Owen Pl. NE, was arrested, treated for minor injuries at Prince George's General Hospital, then returned to Silver Spring. Montgomery County police charged him yesterday morning with assault with intent to murder, illegal use of a credit card and several traffic offenses.

Police said the Audi and the credit card had been stolen in the District.