A former Alabama prison officer who was on the run with a murder suspect accused of helping the escape shot himself Monday when authorities caught up with the couple after more than a week of searches, officials said. The man she fled with surrendered.
The death of Vicky White, 56, only deepened the mystery of why a respected prison official would give up everything to free Casey White, 38, a hulking inmate with a violent and frightening history.
The two fugitives were caught in Evansville, Indiana – following a three-state manhunt – when U.S. Marshals pursuing them crashed into their vehicle, authorities said. Casey White gave herself up and Vicky White shot herself and was taken to a hospital, authorities said. Vanderburgh County Coroner Steve Lockyear said she died from her injuries.
Before Vicky White’s death, authorities celebrated the arrest of the fugitives.
“We took a dangerous man off the street today. He will never see the light of day again. That’s a good thing, not just for our community. It’s a good thing for our country,” said Lauderdale County Sheriff Rick Singleton of Alabama.
The manhunt began on April 29 when Vicky White, the assistant director of the Lauderdale County jail’s correctional facilities, allegedly helped plan the escape of Casey White, who was awaiting trial in a murder case. Vicky White had told colleagues she was taking the inmate from prison to a mental health inquest at the courthouse, but the two, who are not related, fled the area instead.
The car they left in was later found abandoned in Tennessee, but there was no sign of the couple until US Marshals received a tip Sunday that surveillance photos from an Evansville car wash showed a man who looked a lot like Casey White , as he exited a 2006 Ford F-150 pickup truck, the Marshals Service said. White is 2.06 meters tall and weighs around 118 kilograms.
Sheriff Dave Wedding told news outlets Monday how murder suspect Casey White and former correctional officer Vicky White were located.
On Monday, officials learned the couple had been sighted near the sheriff’s office, Indiana’s Vanderburgh County Sheriff Dave Wedding said. When officers arrived, the two fled in a vehicle and led police in a pursuit, he said. US Marshals collided with them “to try to stop the pursuit,” he said. Casey White was not seriously injured in the accident and Vicky White then shot herself, causing “very serious” injuries, he said.
“We are fortunate that no law enforcement officials were injured, no innocent civilians were injured, the prosecution was short by nature, and we took both individuals into custody,” Wedding said.
Casey White was serving a 75-year sentence on attempted murder and other charges at the time of his escape. He was awaiting trial for stabbing a 58-year-old woman during a 2015 burglary and could face the death penalty if convicted.
Federal and local law enforcement officials have also learned that Casey White threatened to kill his former girlfriend and sister in 2015, saying “he wanted the police to kill him,” the Marshals Service said.
An arrest warrant was issued for Vicky Sue White on May 2, charging her with allowing or facilitating the first degree escape.
Before her death was announced, the Alabama sheriff said he hoped to get answers from his once-trusted prison officer about her actions, but acknowledged those answers might not come. “I had complete faith in Vicky White. She was an exemplary employee. What on earth provoked her, caused her to do such a stunt? I do not know. I don’t know if we’ll ever know,” Singleton said.
A manhunt for a dangerous inmate and a correctional officer continues after they went missing on Friday
Vicky White’s family members and associates said they were stunned by her involvement. Singleton said it appears the plan has been in the works for some time. Prison inmates said the two had a special bond and that she treated Casey White better than other inmates.
In recent months, she has purchased a rifle and shotgun and is also known to own a handgun, US Marshal Marty Keely said.
She sold her house for about half the market value and bought a 2007 orange Ford Edge, which she parked in a mall without license plates.
“This escape was obviously well planned and calculated. There was a lot of preparation behind it. They had a lot of resources, they had cash, they had vehicles,” Singleton said.
The escape happened on what Vicky White described as her last day of work. She told colleagues that Casey White had a mental health inquest at the courthouse, but none was scheduled. She did not have a second officer to accompany her, which was against prison policy.
The video showed the couple walking from the jail to the mall, where they picked up the Ford and left, Singleton said. Their flight was undetected for most of the day.
Investigators believe the pickup that Casey White had at the car wash was stolen in Tennessee and then driven about 175 miles (280 kilometers) to Evansville, a police official told The Associated Press. The official could not publicly discuss details of the investigation and spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity.
Associated Press writer Ken Kusmer contributed from Indianapolis.
https://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/national-international/escaped-alabama-inmate-corrections-officer-accused-of-helping-him-escape-caught-in-indiana/3233372/ Fugitive Alabama inmate captured after manhunt, ex-prison officer dead – NBC10 Philadelphia