What began as a routine response by police to reports of a domestic dispute ended early yesterday with five Montgomery County police officers injured, three of their cars damaged and a Wheaton man in custody following a half-hour high-speed chase through Montgomery and Prince George's counties.
Police arriving at 4059 Adams Dr. in Wheaton at 4 a.m. yesterday found the man locked in his car, a Silver Spring taxicab, and threatening to slash his wrists, according to a police department spokesman. As police attempted to open the driver's door with wires, the man, identified as Thomas Franklin Smith III, 27, of 2508 Sheraton St., Wheaton, sought to carry out his wrist-slashing threat, police said.
Officers then broke the driver's window. Smith started his cab, backed it into one police car, lurched forward into another and hit a third as he proceeded down the block. Officer Bill Lumpkin, who was holding onto the car as Smith started off, was bounced against other parked vehicles before he let go.
Lumpkin and four other officers also sustained injuries from cut glass while breaking the car window, according to police.
Smith led the police on a chase through the suburbs of Montgomery and Prince George's counties. A passerby reported that as many as 20 police cars pursued Smith northward on Interstate 95, but police said they had no precise count on the number involved.
The chase ended in Kensington, at Denfield Road and Connecticut Avenue. The five officers were taken to Suburban Hospital, where they were treated and released.
Smith was taken to Montgomery General Hospital where he was treated and released. Police said he was charged with assault with intent to murder, assault and various traffic violations and was taken into custody.