HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - A bizarre story unfolded in Hancock County Monday afternoon as Sheriff's Deputies say a man led them on a high speed chase.
The chase started at the two mile marker on Interstate 10 near the Mississippi-Louisiana state line, and ended just west of Lakeshore Road, close to the Hancock County Jail.
Police pursuits are not uncommon, but what officers found inside the drivers car baffled and alarmed them.
Authorities say the incident started when a Hancock County Sheriff's Deputy attempted to stop a car on I-10 for careless driving.
"He then took an evasive action," said Glenn Grannan, Chief Investigator for the Hancock County Sheriff's Department.
Grannan said that evasive action led police on a 15-mile chase that involved six Sheriff's patrol cars before the pursuit ended with the suspect stopping the car in the middle of Highway 90.
"He jumped out of the vehicle and attempted to run on foot, but they apprehended him," said Grannan.
He said the driver gave officers five different false names before they later determined he was Eric Clark, 50, of Irvine, California.
Investigators say Clark has a long list of brushes with the law including robbery and terrorism charges for making threats against the federal government.
That's why authorities were shocked to find four pellet guns, including one that looked like a machine gun, a gas mask, knives and body armor in the trunk of his car.
"You are alarmed when you see this coupled with this strange stuff and coupled with a criminal history and obviously other issues," explained Grannan.
He said Clark was never convicted on any of those charges. Instead he was sent to a mental institution for eight years.
"We were just concerned what his objective was, what his motives were. Maybe he's just having some difficulties because he's challenged. We're just pretty much concerned about his mental health at this point."
Investigators are still looking into whether he committed any crimes between California and South Mississippi.