Arkansas police find firearms, Molotovs cocktails after high speed chase of U-Haul

(AP production by Javier Arciga)

Two Michigan men are being held on multiple charges after leading police on a high-speed chase through Arkansas and Oklahoma in a stolen U-Haul that contained weapons and Molotov cocktails, authorities said.

Cory Robert Mercier, 21, and Trenton Johnson, 21, were arrested Wednesday after the chase in the cargo van that began in eastern Oklahoma and ended in Tontitown. Speeds during the pursuit exceeded 120 miles per hour, Tontitown Police said in a news release.

Mercier, who was driving the van, struck one vehicle in Oklahoma head-on, Tontitown Police said. Dash camera footage from Tontitown police of the chase shows the van darting in and out of traffic as it’s being pursued by multiple police vehicles.

The chase ended when a Tontitown officer performed a tactical vehicle intervention — bumping the rear of the van to make it stop. The police vehicle that hit the van rolled over multiple times and the officer was treated at a local hospital and released with minor injuries.

Police found two firearms, a machete and two Molotov cocktails inside the van after the case, according to an arrest affidavit. The two men are being held at the Benton County jail on multiple charges including aggravated assault, fleeing, criminal conspiracy and possession of destructive devices, police said.

A judge appointed the public defender’s office to represent the men, and the Benton County public defender’s office said attorneys had not been assigned to their case yet. The two are set to appear in court March 18.

Tontitown Police said the men were also wanted by Westland, Michigan police. The Westland Police Department did not immediately return a call Friday afternoon. Court records list New Boston, Michigan, as the last known address for the men.