Virginia National Guard Soldier charged by Virginia State Police

SANDSTON, Va. — The Virginia State Police arrested Virginia National Guard Soldier Joshua Philip Yabut, 29, of Richmond, Virginia, for Driving Under the Influence of Drugs, and charged him with one felony count of eluding police and one felony count of unauthorized use of a vehicle. The charges come after he drove an M577 armored personnel carrier June 5, 2018, from Fort Pickett near Blackstone, Virginia, to Richmond, Virginia, where he stopped and surrendered to Virginia State Police. The incident remains under investigation by the VSP. He is being held in the Richmond City Jail.

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.

He enlisted in the Florida Army National Guard as an 11B infantry Soldier in October 2006, and he earned his commission through ROTC at the University of Illinois at Chicago in June 2012. He joined the Virginia National Guard in May 2013, and he took command of Headquarters Company Nov. 19, 2016.

The unit was conducting routine training at Fort Pickett when he drove away in the armored personnel carrier. The vehicle has been recovered and returned to Fort Pickett with no significant damage. The vehicle was not equipped with any weapons, but the Soldier did have his personal weapon with him but had no ammunition.

“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,” said Maj. Gen. Timothy P. Williams, the Adjutant General of Virginia. “We have initiated our own internal investigation, and we will determine appropriate actions once the investigation is complete.”

Tuesday’s original release from the Virginia State Police:

As of 9:40 p.m., Tuesday (June 5), the driver of the armored personnel carrier had stopped the vehicle and surrendered to Virginia State Police. The vehicle stopped at East Broad Street and 11th Street in the City of Richmond.

The incident began at approximately 7:50 p.m., when an armored personnel carrier was driven away from Ft. Pickett in Nottoway County. The military vehicle – which is not equipped with any weaponry and is NOT a tank – is the property of the Virginia National Guard.

The vehicle was driven east on Route 460 and then northbound on Interstate 95 at a maximum speed of about 40 mph. The Virginia State Police began pursuit of the vehicle since receiving the initial report and traveled along with it from Nottoway County to the City of Richmond.

No crashes or injuries occurred during the course or as a result of this incident.