Alabama jailer Vicky White committed suicide, coroner says

(CNN) — Fugitive Alabama corrections officer Vicky White has died by suicide, the Indiana coroner’s office said Thursday, backing up authorities’ suspicions that she shot herself after a car chase Monday that ended with 11 days. on the run with a prisoner he is accused of freeing.

White, 56, who authorities say released inmate Casey White in late April from the Alabama jail where he worked, died from a single gunshot wound to the head, the Vanderburgh County coroner’s office said. in Indiana.

No further details are available on the coroner’s findings. Authorities had said they believed Vicky White had fatally shot herself after the vehicle the pair were traveling in crashed while she was being chased by law enforcement in Evansville, Indiana.

Casey White, 38, charged with an Alabama murder case, was taken into custody after Monday’s crash and booked at an Alabama state prison.

The manhunt ended a multi-state manhunt that began on April 29, when authorities say Vicky White, then deputy director of corrections at a Lauderdale County jail in Alabama, broke Casey White out of the detention center. under the pretext of taking him to court.

Investigators believe the two fostered a romantic relationship while Casey White, normally housed in state prison, was periodically transferred to the Lauderdale County Jail to attend hearings related to the 2015 stabbing death of Connie Ridgeway, by which White faces capital murder charges. The county sheriff said the two continued their communication when he was transferred back to state prison.

On Wednesday, Evansville authorities released audio of a 911 call they say Vicky White made during Monday’s chase, audio that gives some insight into the moments leading up to her death, but by itself doesn’t seem to clarify. how or when he suffered the gunshot wound.

What the 911 call reveals

While officers were chasing a Cadillac driven by Casey White on Monday afternoon, they rammed the Cadillac into a ditch and the vehicle flipped over, according to authorities. Investigators believe Vicky White shot herself “once the vehicle crashed,” Vanderburgh County Sheriff Dave Wedding said Tuesday.

The 911 audio appears to start near the end of the chase. It starts with someone saying something indistinguishable, and the dispatcher saying “Evansville 911.” No one appears to address the dispatcher, who says “911” and “hello” to seemingly no response.

Instead, a woman’s voice, which authorities say is Vicky White’s, is heard in the first six seconds saying things like: “Stop” and “Wait, stop…the air bags are going to explode and we’re going to to kill”.

At twelve seconds a loud noise is heard, the first of at least four loud noises that occur in about 15 seconds. It is not clear in each case what the noises represent, and it is not clear from the audio when the car was rammed, when it flipped over, and when a gun was fired.

“God,” the woman says after the first noise. “The air bags are going off. Let’s get out and run.” She mentions a hotel.

The second noise is heard and the woman screams. At least two more noises are heard, followed, now 30 seconds into the tape, by another shriek.

For the next 30 seconds, generally only distant siren sounds are heard. A minute into the recording, a soft voice is heard, perhaps a moan, but it is not clear who it is.

Shortly after, distant voices and some movement are heard, although it is not clear if it is inside or outside the vehicle.

About a minute and 40 seconds into the recording, someone starts repeatedly saying phrases like “he’s breathing” and “he has a gun in his hand.”

The phone line remains open as officers work to remove the couple from the vehicle.

Vicky White was taken to a hospital, where she died, according to the US Marshals Service.

Wedding told CNN Tuesday that Vicky White had indicated in a call with police dispatchers that she had a gun. Additionally, in Evansville Police dispatch audio released earlier this week, the dispatcher can be heard advising units “we could hear her on the line saying she had her finger on the trigger.”

The 911 recording does not appear to reveal Vicky White mentioning a gun or her trigger finger. However, other people can be heard on the recording, presumably responding officers, saying that her finger was on her trigger when they found her.

CNN has asked the Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Office for comments on how to marry 911 audio with comments from the sheriff and operator.

According to Lauderdale County Sheriff Rick Singleton, no law enforcement officers fired shots during the chase.

When officers removed Casey White from the car and took him into custody, he reportedly told them to help “his wife,” who had shot herself in the head, and insisted he hadn’t, according to Sheriff Marty Keely. , who said that, to the best of his knowledge, the couple was not married. Authorities previously said the officer and inmate were not related.

Casey White indicated that he intended to have a shootout with law enforcement if his car hadn’t been rammed into a ditch, Wedding said Tuesday, citing White’s interviews with investigators after his capture.

“(Casey White) said he was probably going to have a shooting, at the risk of both losing their lives,” Wedding said.

Chase Casey Vicky White

The scene at the end of the police chase in Evansville, Indiana.

What will happen to Casey White?

Casey White returned to Alabama Tuesday night to attend an arraignment in Lauderdale County.

Judge Ben Graves told White at the hearing that he will be charged with first-degree flight, in addition to the capital murder charges he already faced in connection with Ridgeway’s death. White allegedly confessed to killing her but later pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, according to authorities.

Casey White

Casey White is now being held at the William E. Donaldson Correctional Facility in Alabama.

After the hearing, White was transferred directly to the William E. Donaldson Correctional Center, a state prison in Bessemer, Alabama, just over 100 miles south of Lauderdale County.

White was already serving a 75-year sentence for a series of crimes he committed in 2015, including a home invasion, a carjacking and a police pursuit, according to the US Marshals Service.

White’s murder trial is currently set for June. During Tuesday’s arraignment, White’s attorney, Jamy Poss, said he would file a motion to change venue, which the judge said he would consider.

— Melissa Alonso, Jamiel Lynch, Eric Levenson, Jaide Timm-Garcia and Nadia Romero contributed reporting.

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