A Philadelphia corrections officer has been arrested and charged in a rampage during which he nearly ran over people with an all-terrain vehicle and sent cars swerving before ramming a police wagon, authorities said yesterday.

Police had to chase Christopher Davidson, 25, on foot and wrestle a handgun from him before taking him into custody, officials said.

A police helicopter spotted the ATV in the playing field at Haines and Ardleigh Streets in East Germantown about 5:45 p.m. Tuesday and saw people, including children, scrambling for safety "while Davidson came within inches of some," police said in a statement. "Davidson drove off the field and onto nearby sidewalks and streets, where other pedestrians were forced to run for cover and cars swerved to avoid him," the statement said. The ATV finally stopped after ramming a police emergency patrol wagon and flipping several times.

Davidson, who lives in the Feltonville section, was charged with aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, vandalism and weapons offenses.- Joseph A. Gambardello