A murder suspect who escaped from an Alabama jail with the help of a female corrections officer was heavily armed and prepared for a shootout as authorities moved in to apprehend the couple in Indiana, a local sheriff said on Tuesday.
But law enforcement officers on Monday rammed their vehicles into the Cadillac driven by the couple and pushed it into a ditch before fugitive Casey White could open fire, Sheriff Dave Wedding of Vanderburgh County, Indiana, said during a news conference.
“We later found out that had they not done that, the fugitive was going to engage in a shootout with law enforcement,” he said.
The capture began when a police officer noticed the Cadillac that Casey White, 38, and Vicky White, the 56-year-old assistant corrections director, were thought to be driving parked outside an Evansville hotel.
Authorities set up surveillance on the hotel, where the couple, who were not related, had been staying for a week, and soon spotted the couple as they were leaving. A car chase ensued through the parking lot and a grassy field, Wedding said.
The quick thinking and actions of law enforcement personnel may have saved lives, Wedding said.
Authorities recovered at least four guns and an AR-15 rifle along with $29,000 in cash from the vehicle the couple were driving, Wedding said.
Vicky White, who suffered an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound, was taken to a hospital and later died, authorities said.
Officials said arrangements have been made for Casey White to be transported back to Alabama to be arraigned on new charges.
Casey White, who was previously accused of a September 2020 stabbing death and was serving time for crimes committed in 2015, will now also face an escape charge, Sheriff Rick Singleton, of Lauderdale County, Alabama, said. Vicky White, a 17-year corrections veteran, was near retirement.
Casey White was seen handcuffed and shackled in the custody of Vicky White leaving the jail in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, about 65 miles west of Huntsville, in late April. At the time, the corrections officer was believed to be transporting him to the courthouse for a mental evaluation.
(Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Chicago; Editing by Leslie Adler)