A soldier took an armored vehicle from Fort Pickett on Tuesday evening and led police on a 60-mile chase that ended in downtown Richmond, where the man climbed out of the top hatch and was arrested on Broad Street near City Hall and Capitol Square.
“It sounds like he pretty much just stopped on his own accord,” said State Police Sgt. Keeli Hill.
Authorities have not yet identified the driver or said how he was able to take the vehicle from the National Guard facility in Nottoway County.
The pursuit mostly stuck to highways, topping out at speeds of about 45 mph, she said. The trailing convoy of police eventually grew to more than 20 squad cars, a SWAT vehicle and a state police helicopter that tracked the carrier's movements with a spotlight.
When it entered Richmond, the driver exited Interstate 95/64 onto the Boulevard and then headed East on Broad Street toward the Capitol downtown as police scrambled to clear the busy street as the vehicle cruised through. In some cases, it passed within feet of stopped traffic.
Hill said no injuries or accidents were reported as a result of the chase. She said she could not confirm witness accounts that police used a Taser on the driver after he stopped the vehicle. She said he was taken into custody without incident.
State police spokeswoman Corinne Geller said the incident began about 7:50 p.m. and that the military vehicle is the property of the Virginia National Guard. It moves on tracks similar to a tank, but was not equipped with any weaponry, she said.
After leaving Fort Pickett in Nottoway, the carrier headed east on Route 460 and then north on Interstate 95, Geller said.
As of 9:40 p.m., the driver of the personnel carrier had stopped at East Broad Street and 11th Street and surrendered to state police. Nearby, about a half-dozen Capitol Police officers with combat-style rifles were guarding the entrance to Capitol Square.
Witnesses said the vehicle moved up on a median, stopped, and the driver got out and started walking around. Police sent a dog to attack him, shot him with a Taser and he was taken into custody, the witnesses said.
Police said the incident is under investigation and charges are pending.