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Best friends and roommates arrested after string of police chases in Michigan, Oklahoma and Arkansas

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Posted at 5:58 PM, Feb 09, 2024
and last updated 2024-02-09 18:18:50-05

WESTLAND, Mich. (WXYZ) — Cory Mercier and Trenton Johnson, both 21 years old, were on their way back home to Michigan when they led police in Arkansas and Oklahoma on a high-speed chase that caused the Tontitown police chief to crash and roll his vehicle multiple times.

Mercier and Johnson are from Westland but were currently roommates in New Boston in southern Wayne County.

The two were in a stolen U-Haul van, according to Tontitown police, when police in Oklahoma first tried to stop them.

The police chase went into Arkansas and speeds reached 120 mph until police were able to stop the U-Haul but not before Mercier, who was allegedly behind the wheel, rammed a vehicle head-on.

Police were able to box them in and arrest Mercier and Johnson.

Police said they found firearms and homemade explosives in the back of the stolen U-Haul, and then they learned that the men were wanted by police in Westland for two incidents of fleeing and eluding.

"Initial conversations with them was that they were headed back to the Michigan area and for whatever purpose, that they were going to use those firearms or a Molotov cocktail. I cannot think of a legitimate reason," said Det. Keith Lindley of the Tontitown Police Department.

7 Action News spoke to Mercier's father Friday outside his home in Romulus.

"I love my kid. I can't believe it," Joseph Mercier said, adding that his son and Johnson have been best friends for years. "They bust their butts. They got themselves a nice place, paid for all their bills, never missed work and then things changed."

Westland police said they attempted to stop the two men on Jan. 23 in the U-Haul van but said the driver refused to comply and fled. Officers pursued for a short distance but terminated the chase.

Two days later, detectives from the Westland Police Department identified the men and located the U-Haul they were in but as soon as detectives approached, activated their emergency lights and identified themselves as police officers, they said the driver rammed an unmarked police vehicle, nearly striking a detective before fleeing at a high rate of speed.

Westland's case has been sent to the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office pending review and charges.

The men are also facing a long list of charges out of state.

Mercier and Johnson are currently being held at the Benton County Detention Center in Arkansas.

According to police in Arkansas, Mercier and Johnson have been charged with aggravated assault, criminal conspiracy, possession of destructive devices, felony fleeing, second-degree battery, four counts of criminal mischief, resisting arrest as well as multiple felony charges from other agencies.