The man first attracted attention by unloading plants and bags from his vehicle – with the car stereo at full volume – outside a psychiatric clinic at 4:30 am in the southwestern city of Offenburg, police said.
When the nightwatchman called the police, the chase began.
As he sped off he ran over a policewoman’s foot before whizzing off at “breakneck speed” towards the autobahn, where he headed north at speeds of up to 200 kilometres (125 miles) an hour with several police cars in hot pursuit.
In the end a traffic jam near Darmstadt, south of Frankfurt, was the man’s undoing, forcing him to slow down his Volkswagen Golf in the early hours of Wednesday. Six police cars then surrounded the vehicle, smashed the windscreen and restrained him with pepper spray.
Police said he had not been drinking alcohol but was “obviously a highly psychologically disturbed man” and had been returned to the Offenburg clinic.