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Prison officer shoots herself dead after fleeing with murder suspect following pursuit
10 May 2022, 06:15 | Updated: 10 May 2022, 08:57
A US prison officer shot herself and a "dangerous" fugitive has been caught after a manhunt across three states and a dramatic police chase.
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Vicky White, an Alabama jail official accused of helping spring Casey White, no relation, died in hospital after turning a firearm on herself.
Casey White gave himself up after they were tracked down and US Marshals crashed into their vehicle in Evansville, Indiana.
The 56-year-old's death could make it harder for investigators to discover why a respected prison worker would change her life to help free the 38-year-old inmate, who has a violent history and was awaiting trial in a capital murder case.
"We got a dangerous man off the street today," Lauderdale County Sheriff Rick Singleton of Alabama said before Vicky White's death.
"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."
Police began their hunt for the two after Vicky White, who worked as assistant director of corrections at Lauderdale County Jail, allegedly helped Casey White escape.
He was serving a 75-year jail term for attempted murder and other charges, and was awaiting trial for stabbing a woman in a 2015 burglary – which could lead to the death penalty if he is convicted.
It has also emerged that Casey White threatened to kill his former girlfriend and his sister in 2015 and said he wanted police to kill him, the Marshals Service said.
Vicky White told staff she was taking the 6ft 9in inmate to a mental health evaluation at a courthouse, but both instead fled.
The car they used was found abandoned in Tennessee and they vanished until US Marshals were tipped off on Sunday about surveillance images showing a man resembling Casey White leave a Ford pickup truck at a car wash in Evansville.
They were spotted on Monday, triggering a pursuit before US Marshals rammed into them in a bid to end the chase.
Casey White was injured but not too seriously, while Vicky White shot herself.
"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," said Vanderburgh County Sheriff Dave Wedding in Indiana.
A warrant was issued on May 2 for Vicky White, charging her with permitting or facilitating escape in the first degree.
Mr Singleton had said he hoped to find out from her why she went from a jail official with an excellent record to allegedly helping an inmate flee.
"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," he said, adding that the plot appeared to have been put together over time.
It appeared the two had a relationship that saw her give Casey White better treatment than other inmates.
Her family were stunned by her involvement. Marshals said she had bought a rifle and a shotgun in the past several months and she was known to have a handgun.
She had sold her house for about half of its market value and stashed a newly bought Ford Edge at a shopping centre without its number plates. Footage later showed the pair arrive at the centre, pick up the Ford and then leave.
The escape happened on what was meant to be Vicky White's last day on the job.
However, a mental health evaluation she said she was taking Casey White to was not scheduled.
A second officer did not go with her, against jail policy. Their disappearance did not get noticed for most of the rest of the day.