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Lieutenant Accused of Taking Armored Vehicle on Joyride Found Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity

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This article by Paul Szoldra originally appeared on Task & Purpose, a digital news and culture publication dedicated to military and veterans issues.

The soldier who was arrested for taking an armored personnel carrier on a slow-speed police chase through Virginia has been found not guilty by reason of insanity on two charges, according to The Richmond-Times Dispatch.

Joshua Phillip Yabut, 30, entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity for unauthorized use of a motor vehicle — in this case, a 12-ton APC taken from Fort Pickett in June 2018 — and violating the terms of his bond, which stemmed from a trip to Iraq he took in March 2019 (which was not a military deployment).

The judge accepted Yabut’s pleas and will determine the type of treatment he’ll receive at a hearing Oct. 4, The Richmond-Times Dispatch reported.

In case you forgot about this internet-famous soldier, Yabut, a first lieutenant with the Virginia National Guard, was arrested in June 2018 by Virginia State Police, who said they chased him for 65 miles while he was behind the wheel of an M577 Armored Personnel Carrier, which he drove from Fort Pickett to near Richmond City Hall.

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Before all of this, Yabut was tweeting clues to his plan, and then later, a selfie to commemorate his legendary status. (Note: TheTwitter account is unconfirmed, but it certainly looks to be Yabut’s, given that he tweeted his full name, rank, DoD ID#, and other personal information in the weeks prior.)

He also apparently live-tweeted from inside the APC, to include a video of him driving it on civilian streets.

After Yabut was released on bond, he went back to tweeting his random musings, talked of things he was coding, shared photos of wood-working projects, and dropped his private medical records, which asserted that he was not under the influence of drugs during the APC incident (this charge was later dropped).

He also shared records purportedly showing a diagnosis of post-traumatic stress disorder, insomnia, bipolar disorder and an unspecified anxiety disorder. And according to court records, on Jan. 22 Yabut boarded a military flight from Naval Air Station Norfolk — with plenty of stops in between — that eventually led him to Erbil, Iraq. He returned two days later, according to The Richmond-Times Dispatch.

Yabut has been taken back to Virginia’s Central State Hospital for evaluation and monitoring, according to WTVR.

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