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Jail officer who helped Alabama inmate escape dies; inmate in custody

The Vanderburgh County coroner said Vicky White died after she shot herself during a pursuit. Casey White was also injured and is in police custody.

EVANSVILLE, Ind. — A corrections officer who helped an Alabama inmate escape from jail died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound Monday.

The Vanderburgh County coroner confirmed Vicky White died Monday in an Evansville hospital, hours after she and inmate Casey White were captured by police and U.S. Marshals after a chase in the southwestern Indiana city. 

Marshals were pursuing a vehicle driven by Vicky White when the marshals ran their vehicles into the fugitives' car to stop it. 

When this happened, Vanderburgh County Sheriff Dave Wedding said Vicky shot herself. She was taken to the hospital with serious injuries and later died. 

Casey, who was also injured, surrendered. He, too, was taken to the hospital. However, Wedding said his injuries weren't as serious.

At a news conference Tuesday, Wedding said Casey and Vicky were carrying about $29,000 in cash, four handguns and an AR-15 when they were captured. He said Casey White told them the fugitives were prepared to have a shootout with police, even if it meant losing their lives.

Credit: AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley
Vanderburgh County Sheriff Dave Wedding shows a photograph of the weapons that were found in the possession of fugitives Casey White and Vicky White following their capture during a press conference in Evansville, Ind., Tuesday, May 10, 2022.

"They're criminals, and their plan was faulty, thank God," Wedding said Tuesday.

According to Wedding, the fugitives had been in Evansville for approximately one week before they were captured.

"I want to commend the Marshals' task force for being here and working diligently with the Vanderburgh County Sheriff's Office, to put two bad people [away] and get them off the street," Wedding said in a news conference at the scene.

Credit: AP
This combination of photos provided by the U.S. Marshals Service and Lauderdale County Sheriff's Office in April 2022 shows Casey Cole White, left, and Assistant Director of Corrections Vicky White.

The vehicle was found Monday in Evansville, after U.S. Marshals received a tip Sunday that the 2006 Ford F-150 pickup was at a car wash in the city, the Marshals Service said. Surveillance photos showed a man who closely resembled Casey White exiting the vehicle at the car wash, officials said.

Investigators believe the pickup truck was stolen in Tennessee and then driven about 175 miles to Evansville, a law enforcement official told the Associated Press. The official could not discuss details of the investigation publicly and spoke to AP on condition of anonymity.

The Marshals Service said a warrant was issued on May 2 for Vicky Sue White, charging her with permitting or facilitating escape in the first degree.

Federal and local law enforcement officials have also learned Casey White threatened to kill his former girlfriend and his sister in 2015 and said, "that he wanted police to kill him," the Marshals Service said. Investigators said they have been in contact with them about the threats and are taking measures to ensure their safety.

The escape

Casey was shackled and handcuffed when he and Vicky White, the facility's assistant director of corrections, left the Lauderdale County Detention Center in Florence, Alabama, the morning of April 29. 

Vicky White had planned to retire, and the day she and Casey White disappeared was to be her last day. She had sold her home about a month ago and talked about going to the beach.

Vicky White told co-workers she was taking him to the courthouse for a mental health evaluation. But Lauderdale County Sheriff Rick Singleton later said no such evaluation was scheduled. He said video showed the pair left the jail and went straight to that parking lot.

The patrol vehicle that the pair used when leaving the detention center was found at a nearby shopping center parking lot after their absence was discovered.

A warrant was issued for Vicky's arrest on charges of permitting or allowing an escape. She is not related to Casey White.

She violated a policy that required more than one official to be involved in transporting him, according to Singleton. The policy was put in place when Casey White was jailed two years ago, and authorities believed he was planning to escape.

"Casey White, as you've heard me say over and over and over, is an extremely dangerous person, and we need to get him located and get him off the street," Singleton said.

The capture

After locating the fugitives' pickup truck at the car wash, authorities got information that the two may have then gotten into a beige 2006 Cadillac, U.S. Marshal Marty Keely told "Good Morning America."

Members of a U.S. Marshals task force went to investigate at a hotel and found the Cadillac, leading to a brief chase. The pursuit ended when the Cadillac crashed. That's when Vicky shot herself, Wedding said. Casey surrendered.

Credit: AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley
Vandenburgh County Sheriff Dave Wedding, right, refers to a photograph during a press conference in Evansville, In., Tuesday, May 10, 2022, about the capture of fugitives Casey White and Vicky White.

Wedding clarified that it hasn't been officially determined that Vicky shot herself.

"In our preliminary investigation, we don't believe he shot her," Wedding said. The coroner's office will make an official determination.

"I don't care about the fugitives' lives if it protects my people's lives," Wedding said. "I commend them for a job well done. They knew they were going up against a dangerous felon — a murderer."

What happens next

Wedding said police questioned Casey at length but would not share further details about that questioning. Wedding did say Casey has signed a waiver of extradition, so he will be sent back to Alabama to face his more serious charges there.

Charges are not expected to be filed against Casey in Vanderburgh County. There is no indication that Vicky or Casey have any relatives, friends, or acquaintances in Evansville or Vanderburgh County.

Casey White was already serving a prison sentence for attempted murder and burglary when he disappeared. He was set to go to trial next month for stabbing a 58-year-old woman to death. If convicted, Casey could face the death penalty.

Credit: AP
This image provided by the U.S. Marshals Service on Sunday, May 1, 2022 shows part of a wanted poster for Casey Cole White. On Sunday, the U.S. Marshals announced it is offering up to $10,000 for information about escaped inmate Casey Cole White, 38, and a “missing and endangered” correctional officer, Vicky White, 56, who disappeared Friday after they left the Lauderdale County Detention Center in Florence, Ala. (U.S. Marshals Service via AP)

Indiana's Department of Correction and the state sheriff's association have created a system to alert residents of facility escapes and related public safety emergencies. 

To learn more about the alert system and how you can sign up to receive alerts, click here

(Editor's Note: A reference to Vicky White driving a pickup in Monday's pursuit has been edited to reflect a different type of vehicle was involved in the incident.)

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