Police said the woman, locked inside a car as the driver sped erratically through traffic, wrestled away the knife and was able to escape. Police then pursued the vehicle for more than a mile until it crashed into another car about 2 p.m. on 12th Street NW at Pennsylvania Avenue.
Five people were hospitalized with injuries: the suspect, two police officers, and a mother and her young child whose vehicle was struck, police said.
Police identified the suspect as Anthony Smith, 29, of Oxon Hill, Md. He faces charges that include reckless driving, fleeing police, leaving the scene of an accident and assault with a dangerous weapon. Smith remained hospitalized Tuesday.
A police report says officers recovered a steak knife with a wooden handle from the suspect’s vehicle, which had been reported stolen from Prince George’s County on Saturday.
The pursuit drew attention because it ended blocks from the White House and in front of the Trump hotel, which is a frequent target of protesters. The hotel is protected by security, and police are sometimes present.
At the time, police had Pennsylvania Avenue blocked with large dump trucks at 12th Street to prevent a vehicular attack on a Syrian folk festival that was underway.
The police report says that the incident began in the 1000 block of New Jersey Avenue NW, just south of New York Avenue. Police said the suspect demanded that the woman, the mother of his child, get into the car and she did so, fearing he might harm her.
He drove off and she demanded to be let out, police said, but he refused. The woman told police that the man was “driving recklessly,” weaving in and out of traffic and going through red lights.
While driving, police said, the man pulled a knife from his sock. The woman said she grabbed it, “then opened the front passenger door while the car was in motion and jumped out of the vehicle.”
D.C. police were called, spotted the car and began to chase it. The exact route of the pursuit was not immediately available, but police reported that the vehicle struck several cars and that damage was reported along New York and Constitution avenues.