“That action may have saved many of the lives of my deputies (and other officers),” Wedding said.
“(Casey White) said he would probably have a gunfight where they would both lose their lives,” Wedding said.
But they seemed equipped to hide more: Inside the Cadillac, police found about $29,000 in cash, wigs, four handguns and an AR-15 rifle, Wedding said Tuesday. Police previously said Vicky White likely used cash from a recent home sale.
The couple ended up staying in Evansville for a week, but had paid for a 14-day stay at the motel, Wedding said.
“They thought… they’d driven long enough to stop for a while, get their bearings, and then figure out their next travel destination,” Wedding said.
A third person may have helped the couple book the motel room, according to a preliminary investigation. Casey White and Vicky White initially tried to get a room, but couldn’t because she had no identification, Wedding said. The room had been paid for for 14 days, he said, and when the two left, it looked like it had been “tidied up,” he said.
The motel manager told DailyExpertNews he had never seen the fugitives and was unaware they were staying there. It’s possible they were visiting someone who was staying at the motel or someone else had checked in a room for them, he said.
Casey White waived his right to an extradition hearing at Vanderburgh County jail in Indiana on Tuesday.
“I want to go back to Alabama,” Casey White said, wearing a yellow jumpsuit and orange flip flops as she virtually appeared before a judge from prison.
When he returns to Alabama, he will immediately appear in front of a judge on charges, and then be transferred to the custody of the State Department of Corrections in lieu of county custody, said Rick Singleton, Alabama’s Lauderdale County Sheriff and Vicky White’s former boss.
Casey White has spoken freely with investigators after his arrest, Wedding said Tuesday.
“He was quite candid with the investigators last night. They had a fairly long interview,” Wedding said.
What led to the chase?
Vicky White, 56, and Casey White, 38, are believed to have been in Evansville since at least May 2, when a city police officer proactively checked the license plate of a 2006 Ford F-150 truck, Evansville Police Chief Billy Bolin said Tuesday. †
Authorities now believe the couple bought the truck on the run in Tennessee, but the May 2 check did not indicate a link between the truck and the fugitive couple, Bolin said.
Also Monday, an Evansville police officer noticed the Cadillac in the motel’s parking lot and “warned us immediately,” Wedding said.
Law enforcement officers then looked at the motel. Officers saw Vicky White exit the motel on Monday wearing a wig, US Marshal Marty Keely said. Then she and Casey White got into the Cadillac and drove off.
The authorities give chase. The pair “fled the hotel parking lot, heading north on U.S. Highway 41 (and) turning around at an industry known as Anchor here in Evansville,” Wedding said.
“They went through the parking lot (and) went through a grassy field. The members of the US task force basically rammed the vehicle and pushed it into a ditch,” Wedding said at Tuesday’s news conference.
The car wrecked and flipped over, Keely said. Casey White was driving the car, according to US Marshals.
Casey White is said to have told authorities to help “his wife” who shot herself in the head and told them he didn’t, according to Keely. Casey White and Vicky White were not married to the investigators’ knowledge, Keely said, and authorities have previously said they were not related.
A coroner will confirm whether Vicky White shot herself, Wedding said.
Vicky White indicated ‘she had her finger on the trigger’, hears the operator say:
In the Evansville Police Department audio, a dispatcher noted during Monday’s chase that “we could hear her on the line saying she had her finger on the trigger.” Earlier, the dispatcher could be heard saying “they are calling 112”.
It is not clear who called the emergency number. Authorities have not released the audio that they believe contains Vicky White’s voice.
According to Singleton, no law enforcement officers fired any shots during the chase.
Couple disappeared from northern Alabama on April 29
The pair initially disappeared on April 29 when Vicky White, who was to retire that day as Lauderdale County’s assistant director of corrections, said she was taking Casey White from county jail to a courthouse for a mental evaluation.
But they never made it to the courthouse, and authorities later discovered she had driven him to a shopping center parking lot in a patrol car. They left that car and left in a vehicle Vicky White had parked there the night before, officials said.
Casey White will be returned to Alabama, where he was charged with murder before his escape and already served a 75-year sentence after a 2015 crime series that included a home invasion, carjacking and a police chase, according to the Marshals Service.
Before her death, Vicky White was charged with permitting or facilitating first-degree escape, alongside charges of forgery and identity theft in connection with her use of an alias to purchase the 2007 Ford Edge in which the couple left Alabama, officials said.
The veteran officer has been described by Singleton as “an exemplary employee” with an “impeccable track record” who had the trust and respect of her colleagues. As the investigation progressed, the sheriff acknowledged that her apparent behavior does not match the person her colleagues thought they knew.
“Of course there was a side to Vicky White that we weren’t aware of,” he previously told DailyExpertNews.
“What the hell provoked her, pushed her to pull a stunt like this, I don’t know. I don’t know if we’ll ever know,” Singleton said.
Search was a challenge for researchers
Vicky White “was actually the mastermind behind the whole plan,” Singleton said Tuesday.
“He was behind bars. He really couldn’t plan too much behind bars, but yeah, I think — personally I think she was the one who made the plan,” he told DailyExpertNews’s John Berman on Tuesday.
As the second-in-command at the county detention center, White used her position to carry out the plan, Singleton said.
“She arranged for the van to be transported that morning, made sure all the other armed officers were out of the building and tied up in court. Knew the booking officer wouldn’t question her…when she told her she’s taking him to court and dropping him off with other employees,” Singleton said.
“She arranged — bought the getaway car, she sold her house, got cash, she went shopping, bought him clothes. She just — she made the plan clear,” Singleton said.
“Casey White did not escape from the facility; he was actually just released,” the sheriff said.
Vicky White’s years of law enforcement expertise presented authorities with unique challenges.
“This breakout was clearly well planned and calculated,” Singleton said Monday, noting that provincial prison breakouts are usually spontaneous. “There was a lot of preparation that went into it. They had enough resources, had cash, had vehicles, had everything they needed to get this done, and that’s what made this week and a half so challenging. We started from scratch, not just that… they’re six hours ahead of us.”
Investigators previously released a video of Vicky White at a Quality Inn in Florence, Alabama, where she said she was staying the night before the escape. Singleton also said they have footage of her shopping for menswear at a department store and an “adult store,” adding that she “clearly had different clothes” for the inmate.
The day of the disappearance would be her last day of work, but her retirement papers were never finalized, Singleton said. The Lauderdale County Sheriff’s Office announced last week that she no longer worked there.
According to Singleton, counselors will be made available at the Lauderdale County Detention Center for employees who may need them after Vicky White’s death.
“It’s a small agency, like family,” he told DailyExpertNews. “Some of these younger deputies have been like a mother figure to them and I know they’re going to have a hard time.”
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly described Vanderburgh County’s location; it’s in indiana. The story also had the wrong first name for US Marshal Marty Keely.
DailyExpertNews’s Jaide Timm-Garcia, Kristinia Sgueglia, Elizabeth Wolfe, Omar Jimenez, Nadia Romero, Jamiel Lynch, Jenn Selva, Amara Walker and Jade Gordon contributed to this report.