High-speed chase of van ends with dramatic crash

TONTITOWN, Ark. (KSHB) – In Arkansas, a high-speed chase caught on camera shows a stolen U-Haul van flee from police.

The chase ended in a dramatic rollover crash, and police found guns and much more inside.

“Had not immediate and aggressive actions, if they weren’t taken yesterday to end this, there’s very little doubt that a member of the public would have gotten hurt,” said Keith Lindley, a detective with Tontitown Police Department.

Tontitown Police Chief Corey Jenison’s dash-camera video shows the crash that happened after state police and other officers tried multiple times to stop the driver of the U-Haul van.

The chase started in Locust Grove, Oklahoma, and continued into Arkansas, through Tontitown on Highway 412 just after 5 p.m.

Police said the driver had already hit someone head-on in Oklahoma, and at times reached speeds of more than 120 mph.

The busy rush-hour traffic slowed the van down, but police said they had to stop it before someone else got hurt.

“Our stance here is the priority of life,” Lindley said. “It’s like having someone point a loaded gun into a crowd. You have a big van like this, with so many people on our highway, we’re going to try to end that as quickly as we possibly can.”

When the van gets on the interstate, Jenison tries to end it. The maneuver sends his police car rolling over four times.

The chief was not seriously injured.

“If someone’s going to make a foolish decision run from the police and they’re going to come through Tontitown, they’re going to receive an aggressive response to end that threat to any of our people,” Lindley said.

Police said arrested the driver, Cory Mercier, and the passenger, Trenton Johnson.

Police said they found guns and homemade flammable devices, or Molotov cocktails, inside the van.

The 21-year-old men from Michigan are facing at least 12 felony charges, but that’s not all.

“We received information that these individuals are wanted out of Westland, Michigan, for allegedly attempting to run over multiple police officers there,” Lindley said. “Initial conversations with them was that they were headed back to the Michigan area and whatever purpose that they were going to use those firearms or or a Molotov cocktail.

I cannot think of a legitimate reason.”

According to the report, four Tontitown police cars and law enforcement vehicles from other agencies were damaged.

The resulting crash also backed up traffic for miles.

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