RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — New details are emerging of the soldier accused of stealing an armored vehicle from a military base and leading police on a wild chase through Central Virginia Tuesday night.
According to state police, 29-year-old Joshua Philip Yabut, of Richmond, took the M577 armored personnel carrier from Fort Picket in Nottoway County around 7:50 p.m., and led police on a slow pursuit up I-95 before surrendering in downtown Richmond nearly two hours later.
RAW VIDEO: State police chase armored military vehicle on Route 460
No crashes or injuries associated with the armored vehicle were reported.
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.
According to the Virginia National Guard, Yabut’s unit was conducting routine training at Fort Pickett when he drove away in the armored vehicle, which was not equipped with any weapons. Yabut did have his personal weapon with him, though, but had no ammunition.
The Virginia National Guard said in a release that Yabut is a first lieutenant assigned as the commander of the Petersburg-based Headquarters Company, 276th Engineer Battalion, and has more than 11 years of service. He deployed to Afghanistan from 2008 to 2009 with the Illinois National Guard.
It appears Yabut posted to Twitter several times shortly after the chase began. Yabut tweeted a video of what appears to be the inside of the armored vehicle.
Yabut then tweeted a photo of himself in his military uniform.
He also tweeted a screenshot of Wikipedia’s description of an M113, along with a map of the Virginia State Capitol.
Moments before the chase came to an end in downtown Richmond, video showed the armored military vehicle barreling down Broad Street as police give chase.
RAW VIDEO: Armored military vehicle chase down Broad Street
According to the Federal Election Commission’s website, Yabut filed to run for Senate in February.
Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia, released a statement Wednesday morning that reads:
“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. We have initiated our own internal investigation, and we will determine appropriate actions once the investigation is complete.”
The chase garnered major social media attraction, and even merchandise of the “Richmond Tank-Thing” is currently available. T-shirts and tanks, created and designed by RVA Coffee Stain, are being sold through a Henrico-based design and technology company Bonfire.
The Richmond Flying Squirrels is also making light of the situation by taking 25 percent off their tanks on Wednesday.
Stay with 8News for updates on this developing story.