Alabama officer Vicky White dies and escapee is captured, officials say

A nationwide manhunt for a former prison officer and the Alabama inmate she helped escape last month ended Monday after a police chase led to an Indiana crash. , authorities said. The former officer shot himself and the inmate surrendered, they said.

Former officer, Vicky White, had been on the run with inmate Casey White, an unrelated murder suspect, since April 29, when they left the Lauderdale County Jail in Florence, in Alabama, for an appointment at the courthouse. which later turned out to be a fabrication.

The crash happened in Evansville, Indiana, more than 200 miles north of the jail, after authorities learned the white people were in a nearby vehicle and began pursuing it.

The search was narrowed down to the area when, hours earlier, a police officer on patrol spotted a Cadillac resembling the one that surveillance video had shown white people entering. The car was seen in the parking lot of a motel where the couple had been staying for about a week, according to Vanderburgh County, Ind., Sheriff Dave Wedding.

A car chase began when Los Blancos exited the motel, he told a press conference on Tuesday. A U.S. marshals’ vehicle collided with their vehicle, causing it to overturn and crash, said Marty Keely, the U.S. Marshal for the Northern District of Alabama. With the vehicle destroyed, Mr White turned himself in to authorities, but Ms White shot herself in the head and later died in a hospital, Sheriff Wedding said.

When he surrendered, Mr White referred to Ms White as his wife and said he had not shot her, according to Mr Keely. Sheriff Wedding said they weren’t married.

Mr White told law enforcement he planned to engage in a shootout with police, Sheriff Wedding said.

“Their plan was flawed and it failed, thank goodness,” he said. “Again, what was going through his mind, I have no idea.” He said they were found with $29,000 in cash and four firearms, including semi-automatic weapons and an AR-15. They also had several wigs in different colors.

Sheriff Wedding said there appeared to be no reason why Mr White and Ms White ended up in Evansville, adding that according to Mr White they were looking for a place to hide and plan their next move.

Sheriff Rick Singleton of Lauderdale County, Alabama, said he felt “rather depressed” after learning that Ms White, who was widowed and had no children, had died.

“The whole sheriff’s office is like a family,” he told reporters on Monday. “When you have a family member who makes a bad choice, you know, you don’t love her but you still love her. She was family to us. And so yeah, it hurts.

Sheriff Singleton added that he now believed the couple had a ‘romantic relationship’ and that Ms White was ‘just as worried about coming back and facing her family and colleagues as she was the charges’.

It was unclear who was driving the vehicle they were traveling in.

Ms White disappeared with Mr White on the morning of April 29, after leaving the jail on the pretext of escorting him to the county courthouse a few blocks away for a mental health assessment. As the prison’s assistant director of corrections, its second-highest-ranking officer, she was responsible for transporting inmates to court appearances. Ms White told a booking agent at the prison that after dropping Mr White off she intended to ‘seek medical assistance’ for herself.

That didn’t happen, Sheriff Singleton said at a May 1 news conference. The premise for leaving prison was “all wrong”, he said.

Ms White’s patrol vehicle was left at a shopping center in Florence, where the pair changed vehicles, Sheriff Singleton said. The vehicle they were in, a Ford SUV, was found abandoned along a rural road in Tennessee later the same day.

The disappearance was not noticed until about six hours after they left, according to the Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff Singleton said authorities knew “for certain” that Ms White helped Mr White escape jail, although he initially said she may have been coerced or threatened to do so.

A warrant has been issued for her arrest for enabling or facilitating an escape. A week later, forgery and impersonation charges were added stemming from the use of a pseudonym to purchase the Ford SUV, the sheriff’s office said.

At the time of his escape, Mr White, 38, was awaiting trial for the fatal assault of a woman in 2015, according to the US Marshals Service. Mr White was already serving a 75-year sentence for previous convictions, including two carjackings and several shootings. He was awaiting trial for the 2015 murder.

Lauderdale County Prosecutor Chris Connolly said Mr White would be extradited and returned to Alabama. He will be transferred to the Alabama Department of Corrections, Sheriff Singleton said.

A lawyer for Mr White declined to comment.

Ms White and Mr White had been a couple for at least two years, according to Sheriff Singleton, who said they briefly met in 2020 when Mr White was in Lauderdale County for arraignment before returning to the state prison.

Ms White had recently decided to retire and the escape happened on her last day on the job. Sheriff Singleton said it was unusual for someone his age, 56, to retire four years before his retirement benefits became available.

Sheriff Singleton said after the capture on Monday that Mr White would be “handcuffed and shackled” in his cell. “He won’t get out of this jail again,” Sheriff Singleton said. “I assure you that.”

Johnny Diaz and Livia Albeck-Ripka contributed report.

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