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Alabama jail official, who allegedly fled with inmate, dies after police chase

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Show caption The pair were spotted at a car wash in Evansville, Indiana, and were later arrested. Photograph: AP Alabama Alabama jail official, who allegedly fled with inmate, dies after police chase Casey White and Vicky White were apprehended following a car chase after they fled over a week and a half back Guardian staff and agencies Tue 10 May 2022 01.38 BST Share on Facebook

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The capture of a former Alabama jail official, along with a murder suspect she allegedly helped escape from custody, ended in tragedy on Monday when the jail official, Vicky White, fatally shot herself after a police chase.

Vicky White, 56, was accused of fleeing with Casey White, 38. The pair spent more than a week on the run before law enforcement in Indiana caught up to them.

Officials said the two fugitives were caught near Evansville, Indiana, after a car chase that ended in a crash. Casey White surrendered and Vicky White shot herself and was taken to a hospital where she later died, officials said.

Casey White remains in custody. “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,” said Rick Singleton, the sheriff of Alabama’s Lauderdale county.

The pair had been the target of a nationwide manhunt since 29 April when Vicky White, the assistant director of corrections for the jail in Lauderdale County, allegedly helped engineer the escape of Casey White, who was awaiting trial in a capital murder case. Vicky White had told co-workers she was taking the prisoner from the jail for a mental health evaluation at the courthouse, but the two instead fled the area.

In Indiana, the Vanderburgh county Sheriff, Dave Wedding, said officials had learned that their vehicle was near the sheriff’s office. As officers arrived, Casey and Vicky White fled in the vehicle and led police on a pursuit, he said. US marshals collided with them “to try to end the pursuit”, he said. Casey White was injured, not too seriously, in the ensuing crash and Vicky White then shot herself, causing “very serious” injuries, he said.

Casey White was serving a 75-year prison sentence for attempted murder and other charges at the time of his escape. He was awaiting trial in the stabbing of a 58-year-old woman during a burglary in 2015. If convicted, he could face the death penalty.

Vicky White’s family members and co-workers said they were stunned by her involvement. Singleton had said that, in hindsight, it appeared the plan had been in the works for some time. Prisoners at the jail said the two had a special relationship and she gave Casey White better treatment than other inmates. She had recently sold her home and had communicated with Casey White when he was in a state prison.

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 center 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.

A warrant was issued on 2 May for Vicky Sue White, charging her with permitting or facilitating escape in the first degree.

The pickup truck, a 2006 Ford F-150, was found on Monday in Evansville after US marshals received a tip on Sunday that the pickup was seen at a car wash in the town, the marshals service said. Surveillance photos showed a man who closely resembles 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.

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.

In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is at 800-273-8255 and online chat is also available. You can also text HOME to 741741 to connect with a crisis text line counselor. In the UK and Ireland, Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org or jo@samaritans.ie. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is 13 11 14. Other international helplines can be found at www.befrienders.org