An active duty soldier stole a military vehicle from the Virginia Army National Guard on Tuesday evening and led Virginia State Troopers on a nearly three hour chase around Richmond.
Police began receiving calls just before 8:00 p.m. when the M577 armored personnel carrier was hijacked. The vehicle is used to transport troops and was not equipped with any weaponry, however, the “Soldier did have his personal weapon with him but had no ammunition” said Virginia National Guard spokesperson Cotton Puryear.
The APC was stolen from Fort Pickett in Nottoway County and was seen traveling northbound on Interstate 85 and Interstate 95 into Richmond. The vehicle was driving at the maximum speed of up to 40 mph and “dozens of state troopers were said to be in pursuit of the vehicle at the time of the chase,” according to Newsweek.
The chase ended in downtown Richmond at around 9:40 p.m. when the soldier climbed out of top of the vehicle, got on his knees, and surrendered to Virginia State Police. After refusing to comply with commands, he was tasered and taken into police custody. The man was transported to VCU Medical Center where he was treated for minor injuries.
Joshua Philip Yabut, 29, was arrested by the Virginia State Police for driving under the influence of drugs and charged, according to the Virginia Army National Guard’s Office of Public Affairs. He has been charged with one felony count of eluding police and one felony count of unauthorized use of a vehicle.
During the chase, Yabut was tweeting pictures from the vehicle, reports WTVR-TV.
Yabut is a “first lieutenant assigned as the commander of the Petersburg-based Headquarters Company, 276th Engineer Battalion, and he has more than 11 years of service. He deployed to Afghanistan from 2008 to 2009 with the Illinois National Guard,” according to Puryear.
The incident is still under investigation.
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