Guard officer who stole armored vehicle to plead insanity

Elizabeth Howe
May 16, 2019 - 11:44 am

Photo courtesy of Associated Press

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The Army National Guard officer who stole an armored personnel carrier and took it on a two-hour police chase last June now plans to plead insanity. 

Originally, 1st Lt. Joshua Yabut claimed he was following orders when he took the carrier and called the charges "completely bogus." The National Guard did not corroborate his story. 

"Lt. Yabut was not authorized by the brigade commander or anyone else to drive the armored personnel carrier off Fort Pickett to any location for any reason," spokesman A.A. "Cotton" Puryear wrote in an email to the Associated Press.

Guard officer insists he was told to take vehicle off base

When Yabut, 30, was eventually arrested in downtown Richmond, he was charged with driving under the influence of drugs, unauthorized use of a National Guard vehicle, and evading police. The trooper that arrested Yabut described him with glassy eyes, dilated pupils, slurred speech, and unsteadiness. Yabut also, at the time, denied being under the influence of drugs. 

Yabut was released from a mental health stay at Central State Hospital in September. He immediately took an unauthorized flight out of the country, purportedly to research bomb-making

Now, Yabut's May 20 trial has been delayed as he plans to plead not guilty by reason of insanity. 

“I have requested an independent sanity evaluation on behalf of the commonwealth,” Commonwealth Attorney Terry Royall told WTVR.

8 things about the guy who stole the armored vehicle

A new hearing has been set for July 2. Until then, Yabut is being held in Richmond.

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