Prison officer who went on the run with murder suspect dies after police car chase

Casey White, left, and Assistant Director of Corrections Vicky White who were caught by police a week after a week on the run. Credit: AP

A respected prison officer who is accused of helping a "dangerous" inmate escape has died following a police car chase a week after the pair went on the run.

The two fugitives were caught on Monday in Evansville, Indiana after US Marshals crashed into their vehicle, ending a three-state pursuit that began on April 29.

Vicky White, 56, shot herself and later died of her injuries in hospital. Casey White, 38, surrendered to the police.

Police said Mr White, who was serving a 75-year sentence for attempted murder and awaiting trial for the stabbing of a 58-year-old woman during a burglary, would "never see the light of day again".

“We got a dangerous man off the street today. He is never going to see the light of day again. That is a good thing, for not just our community. That’s a good thing for our country,” Lauderdale County Sheriff Rick Singleton of Alabama said.

The pair are seen getting into her patrol car and driving off. Credit: Lauderdale County Sheriff

Ms White, the assistant director of corrections for the jail in Lauderdale County, allegedly helped plan Mr White's escape. The pair are not related.

Ms White had told co-workers she was taking the inmate for a mental health evaluation, but instead the pair fled sparking a widespread search.

The car they took off in was later found abandoned in Tennessee, but there was no trace of the pair until US Marshals received a tip-off that CCTV photos from an Evansville car wash showed a man who closely resembled 6ft 9" Mr White.

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On Monday, the pair was spotted near the sheriff’s office, Vanderburgh County Sheriff Dave Wedding in Indiana said. When officers arrived, the pair fled in a vehicle and with the police in pursuit.

US Marshals collided with them “to try to end the pursuit,” he said.

Mr White was injured in the crash and Ms White shot herself, causing “very serious” injuries, he said.

“We’re lucky that no law enforcement was injured, no innocent civilians were injured, the pursuit was short in nature and we have both people in custody,” Mr Wedding said.

Casey White was serving time behind bars for attempted murder, robbery and burglary.

Mr White is awaiting trial in a capital murder case and could face the death penalty if convicted. He is also known to have threatened to kill his former girlfriend and his sister in 2015 and said “that he wanted police to kill him,” the Marshals Service said.

Before her death was announced, the Alabama sheriff said he hoped to get answers from his once trusted jail employee about her actions but acknowledged those answers might not come.

“I had every bit of trust in Vicky White. She has been an exemplary employee. What in the world provoked her, prompted her to pull a stunt like this? I don’t know. I don’t know if we’ll ever know,” Singleton said.

Ms White’s family members and co-workers said they were stunned by her involvement. Singleton said it appeared the plan had been in the works for some time. Jail inmates said the two had a special relationship and she gave Casey White better treatment than other inmates.

Vicky White is seen opening the door for Casey White to leave the facility. Credit: Lauderdale County Sheriff

In the past several months, she bought a rifle and a shotgun and also was known to have a handgun, US Marshal Marty Keely said.

She sold her house for about half of market value and bought a 2007 orange Ford Edge that she stashed at a shopping centre without license plates.

“This escape was obviously well-planned and calculated. A lot of preparation went into this. They had plenty of resources, had cash, had vehicles,” Singleton said.