Soldier charged in armored vehicle chase found not guilty by reason of insanity

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NOTTOWAY COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Joshua Philip Yabut, an Army National Guard officer who drove off in an armored personnel carrier from Fort Pickett in June while under the influence of drugs, was found not guilty in a Nottoway County court Monday by reason of insanity.

Yabut entered a plea of not guilty Monday morning, according to Nottoway County Commonwealth’s Attorney Leanne Watrous. He was found to be not guilty for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.

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“Three licensed clinical psychologists evaluated Yabut’s sanity at the time of the offense in two independent evaluations,” Watrous said in an emailed statement. “The psychologists performing the evaluations reached the same conclusion that Yabut was not sane at the time of the offense.”

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Police said Yabut took the M577 armored personnel carrier from Fort Pickett in Nottoway County on June 5 and led authorities on a slow pursuit up Interstate 95 before surrendering in downtown Richmond. 

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Yabut, who served more than 10 years in the Army National Guard, was ordered into the custody of the Commissioner of the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services.

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He will remain in custody until his next court hearing in October.

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Watrous added that Yabut “will be evaluated by a psychiatrist and a clinical psychologist regarding his mental condition and need for hospitalization and treatment.”

Following these evaluations, a hearing will be held to determine his status moving forward, and whether additional psychiatric treatment and supervision are necessary.

The evaluations must be performed and a report sent to the Circuit Court of Nottoway within 45 days, according to Yabut’s defense attorney Amy Austin.  

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