RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Five years ago, a stolen armored military vehicle led police on a slow pursuit through Richmond — in what has become a tale residents of the city will continue to tell for years to come.
Around 7:50 p.m. on Tuesday, June 5, 2018, Joshua Yabut –a then-29-year-old soldier — drove an M577 armored personnel carrier from Fort Pickett in Nottoway County and into the streets of Richmond.
Yabut was chased by police on Interstate 95 and Broad Street before eventually surrendering at 11th Street in downtown Richmond. Police said Yabut exited the vehicle and got to his knees but did not comply with officers’ commands and was tased.
While the military vehicle was not equipped with any weaponry, the National Guard reported Yabut had his personal weapon with him, although no ammunition.
According to the Virginia National Guard, Yabut was a first lieutenant with more than 10 years of service. He had been assigned as the commander of the Petersburg-based Headquarters Company, 276th Engineer Battalion. Yabut was also deployed to Afghanistan with the Illinois National Guard from 2008 to 2009.
“We are extremely grateful that there were no injuries as a result of this incident, and we appreciate the great work of the Virginia State Police, Richmond Police Department and other law enforcement and first responders who safely brought this situation to a close,” Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia, said at the time. “We have initiated our own internal investigation, and we will determine appropriate actions once the investigation is complete.”
Yabut was charged with driving under the influence of drugs, one felony count of eluding police and one felony count of unauthorized use of a vehicle. There were no crashes or injuries reported from the incident. He was later found not guilty by reason of insanity in August 2019.
All of Yabut’s traffic-related charges were nolle prossed in September 2018. However, Yabut’s eluding police charge is still outstanding, his next court hearing is scheduled for Sept. 11, 2023.