Soldier who took military vehicle from base to be charged in Nottoway

NOTTOWAY COUNTY, Va. – Virginia National Guard officer Lt. Joshua P. Yabut will be indicted after he allegedly removed an armored personnel carrier from Fort Pickett and drove it 70 miles, into downtown Richmond.

Nottoway County Commonwealth's attorney Theresa J. Royall confirmed the 29-year-old solider will be indicted with the unauthorized use of a vehicle.

Yabut was charged in Richmond with the unauthorized use of a vehicle, driving under the influence and eluding police.

Richmond will keep the latter two charges against the soldier and drop the unauthorized use of vehicle when Yabut is indicted in Nottoway.

Yabut was not authorized to drive the APC off Fort Pickett to any location, for any reason, according to Virginia National Guard spokesperson Cotton Puryear, in response to Yabut's claim he was simply following orders.

In an interview granted to the Associated Press, Yabut claimed his brigade commander ordered him to drive the vehicle off base to test police response to the situation. Yabut made that call to the AP from Central State Hospital in Petersburg where he is being evaluated following his arrest.

While the reason behind his actions remained unclear Thursday, Crime Insider sources said the first lieutenant with 11 years military experience was on an anti-depressant and a prescription bottle was recovered as part of the investigation.

During the drive from Fort Pickett to downtown Richmond, Yabut was active on Twitter and posted several photos from inside the vechile to the account associated with him.

When Yabut exited the stopped military vehicle on Broad Street Tuesday evening, police deployed a Taser and used a police dog in the effort to restrain him.

Yabut had previously been deployed to Afghanistan, from 2008 to 2009, with the Illinois National Guard. He worked for NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton as a civil servant in the Office of the Chief Information Officer, from 2014-17. A LinkedIn profile that appeared to be Yabut's said his responsibilities there included "routine and tailored offensive-type cyber security activities."

Court documents showed Yabut lived at an apartment in Jackson Ward on 2nd Street, just north of Broad Street in downtown. The landlord of the property confirmed Yabut lived in an upstairs apartment for "about a year," but declined to comment further.

Yabut’s next court appearance is scheduled for court July 11.