Evansville area law enforcement recount where Alabama fugitives were leading up to their arrest
Former corrections officer dead, fugitive inmate in custody after police chase in Evansville
EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - The 10-day nationwide manhunt for an Alabama capital murder suspect and a former corrections officer has finally come to a close in Evansville, Indiana.
”You don’t think it’s going to end up here, but it did,” said U.S. Marshal Dan McClain with the Southern Indiana District, echoing how many people feel that this nationwide hunt for escaped Alabama inmate Casey White and corrections officer Vicky White came to a head in Evansville.
Vanderburgh County Sheriff Dave Wedding confirmed the two people involved in the incident were Alabama fugitive Casey White and former corrections officer Vicky White.
According to Vanderburgh Co. Coroner Steve Lockyear, an autopsy was done on Tuesday, and showed Vicky died of a single self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. She died at Deaconess Hospital.
Lockyear says the manner of death has been ruled a suicide.
Sheriff Wedding held a press conference Tuesday morning.
You can watch that here.
[Related Story: Search for escaped Alabama inmate, corrections officer enters day 10]
They say it all started with a high-speed police chase off of US 41.
Casey and Vicky made their first appearance in Evansville on Tuesday, May 3 at Weinbach Car Wash.
“We received a lot of tips, we got some surveillance video,” Wedding said.
[Related Story: US Marshals show photos from Evansville car wash believed to be Alabama fugitive]
“I noticed a black Ford truck sticking out of the end of the bay,” a worker with Weinbach Car Wash, James Stenson says. “Every time I see a truck sticking out, I think something’s going on.”
Stenson says the truck stayed there overnight, and he contacted police.
“My first thought, ‘This could be that guy from Alabama because it’s got Tennessee license plates on it,’” Stenson says.
“Once we got that hit on that truck, we knew they were here,” said Marshal McClain.
Stenson says his security footage showed Vicky pick up Casey in a grey Cadillac.
A patrolling officer eventually saw the Cadillac in a motel parking lot. Officers took action and swarmed the motel.
“Soon thereafter, the two suspects exited the hotel and fled out of the hotel parking lot northbound on US Highway 41,” Wedding said.
He says the chase was short.
“US Marshals task force officers intercepted them - actually collided with them to end the pursuit,” Wedding says.
The car was flipped into a ditch, and the pair were trapped inside.
During Wedding’s press conference, he said crashing into them was a choice they had to make.
Because what they found in the Cadillac was $29,000, wigs Vicky used for disguises and several guns.
“There we’re at least 4 handguns, semi-automatics, a nine-millimeter, a gun known as an AR-15223 caliber round, so any of these weapons could have been used to ambush our officers,” Wedding said.
Wedding says Casey White admitted to having intentions of shooting at police.
“The fugitive was going to engage in a shootout with law enforcement.”
Crashing into the pair stopped that from happening.
“Sometimes people may call that an unnecessary action, but that action may have saved many of my deputies and fellow law enforcement officers’ lives,” Sheriff Wedding said. “That’s why I represent the Sheriff’s Office. I want to bring my people home, and I don’t care about the fugitives’ lives if it protects my people’s lives.”
The sheriff says Vicky shot herself after the car had crashed in the ditch.
“The female driver of the vehicle shot herself, and the passenger was injured not too seriously,” Wedding continued.
Wedding says Casey surrendered without a problem.
In the car, authorities say they found several different guns and about $29,000 in cash.
“No law enforcement was injured, no innocent civilians were injured. The pursuit was short in nature, and we have both people in custody,” Wedding says.
Authorities say they’re still investigating why they stayed in Evansville for at least six days.
“Well, they’re criminals. Sometimes they do things that are unexplainable. But in this case, we’re glad they did,” Wedding says.
He says their capture was possible because of law enforcement cooperation, and information from people like Stenson, who oddly enough has done this before.
“I never spotted a national, but I did have a local murder that they solved with my cameras here,” Stenson says.
He says it’s important for everyone to do what they can to help.
“That’s what brought us here. If you see something, say something. And keep on making somebody listen to you,” Stenson continued.
Deputy Sheriff Bryan Bishop with the Fugitive Task Force was there for every step of the chase.
”There’s no doubt that the years of training and my years of experience kicked in,” said Bishop. “We learn to operate under stress but it still is difficult, there are emotions to go through that especially chasing somebody like them with their capabilities that really have nothing to lose.”
Bishop says a lot of this investigation was possible through tips from the community.
“When there’s something like this going on in the country, it’s everybody’s job, everybody’s part to be aware, look for these kind of things and relay them to law enforcement,” Bishop said.
Authorities say they are grateful everyone who responded to the chase, made it out alive and mostly uninjured.
“We all depend on each other to get home every single day and we’re willing to do whatever it takes to make that happen,” said Bishop. “So at no point am I ever worried about not coming out OK. I know my guys got my back out there.”
And grateful the search for Casey and Vicky can finally come to an end.
“We’re trying to take dangerous people off the street,” said Wedding. “There’s a lot of where they bought the car and this and that, it’s a minor concern versus us getting them off the street and making our community safe.”
Casey has been moved to the Vanderburgh County Jail.
Authorities say this investigation is ongoing.
Casey appeared in court Tuesday morning and waived extradition. He’ll return to Alabama.
[Related Story: Alabama fugitive Casey White appears in Vanderburgh Co. Court]
According to the Lauderdale County Sheriff, Vicky told co-workers she was taking Casey to a mental health appointment when they left the detention center.
But no appointment was ever scheduled.
According to CNN, Casey White was already serving prison time for several crimes when he was charged with capital murder for the 2015 stabbing death of Connie Ridgeway.
He was sentenced to 75 years.
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