RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Police have identified the soldier accused of stealing an armored vehicle from a military base and leading police on a wild chase through Central Virginia Tuesday night.
Police say 29-year-old Joshua Philip Yabut of Richmond took the M577 armored personnel carrier from Fort Pickett in Nottoway County and led police on a slow pursuit up I-95 before surrendering in downtown Richmond.
In a release, the Virginia National Guard said Yabut is a first lieutenant assigned as the commander of the Petersburg-based Headquarters Company, 276th Engineer Battalion, with more than 11 years of service. He deployed to Afghanistan from 2008 to 2009 with the Illinois National Guard.
“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 in a release. “We have initiated our own internal investigation, and we will determine appropriate actions once the investigation is complete.”
Yabut’s unit was conducting routine training at Fort Pickett when he drove away in the armored personnel carrier at around 7:50 p.m., according to the Virginia National Guard.
RAW: State police chase armored military vehicle on Rt. 460
Video sent to 8News shows the military vehicle — which officials said is not equipped with any weaponry and is not a tank — traveling east on Route 460 at about 40 miles per hour.
The vehicle then made its way northbound on Interstate 95 and into the City of Richmond.
More video sent to 8News shows the armored vehicle barreling down Broad Street in Richmond as police give chase.
The vehicle eventually stopped at East Broad and 11th streets. Police said Yabut exited the vehicle and got down on his knees, but did not comply with officers’ commands and was tased.
RAW: Police chase armored military vehicle down Broad Street
While the military vehicle Yabut was operating was not equipped with any weaponry, the National Guard said the soldier did have his personal weapon with him but had no ammunition.
Yabut has been charged with driving under the influence of drugs, one felony count of eluding police and one felony count of unauthorized use of a vehicle.
No crashes or injuries associated with the armored vehicle were reported.