One driver at the chaotic scene said the man appeared to be bleeding from his left arm and fled the scene as officers arrived.
The bizarre incident unfolded this afternoon at 3.45pm (Thursday) on the outskirts of York.
Police received a number of calls from distressed motorists after the topless man was seen throwing items at vehicles from the central reservation on the A64 near the slip road to the A19 and the Designer Outlet.
A police spokeswoman said ten vehicles had been damaged in the incident - some of which were no longer safe to drive - but no reports of injuries had been received at the time.
After fleeing the road, the man allegedly ran through gardens in the Fordlands Road area of York and the police helicopter and ground units were deployed to find him.
The police spokeswoman said a man was arrested at about 4.15pm in the car park of the Designer Outlet and was in custody this evening.