As authorities piece together the final moments before fugitive officer Vicky White was fatally shot following a chaotic car chase Monday, newly released audio of what officials say is a 911 call she made during the pursuit provides more insight into the minutes leading up to the capture of her and inmate Casey White. But it also adds to the many questions that remain unanswered.
The audio reveals a frantic scene inside the pair’s escape car as they fled, but it also offers little clarity about how Vicky White sustained a gunshot wound to the head before officers were able to pull her from the car. She died from her injuries at a hospital later that day.
The chase ended when authorities forced the car Casey White was driving to wreck and roll into a ditch, the U.S. Marshals Service has said. Authorities preliminarily believe Vicky White shot herself in the head when the car crashed, but an official cause of death has not been announced.
In the 911 audio released by officials in Evansville, Indiana, Wednesday, the caller does not appear to address the dispatcher, who says, “911” and “hello” seemingly without being answered.
Instead, a woman’s voice — which authorities say is Vicky White’s — is heard saying things including, “wait, stop … airbags going to go off and kill us.”
Soon, a loud noise is heard — the first of at least four loud noises to happen in about 15 seconds. It’s unclear in each instance what the noises represent, and it’s unclear from the audio when the car was rammed, when it rolled over, and when a gun was fired.
“God,” the woman says after the first noise. “Airbags are going off. Let’s get out and run.” She mentions a hotel.
The second noise is heard, and the woman shrieks. At least two more noises come, followed by another shriek. Sirens can be heard and a little more than a minute later, someone says repeatedly “got a gun in her hand,” and “she is breathing.”
The line stays open as officers work to get the pair out of the vehicle.
Vicky White, 56, was transported to a hospital, the U.S. Marshals said. Casey White, 38, was taken into custody and transported back to Alabama.
The escaped inmate and corrections official fled from Lauderdale County, Alabama, on April 29. Authorities say Vicky White, who was then the assistant director of corrections at the county jail, checked Casey White out of the detention center under the pretense of taking him to the courthouse.
Investigators believe the two fostered a romantic relationship while Casey White, who was normally housed in a state prison, was periodically transferred to the Lauderdale County jail to attend hearings related to the 2015 stabbing death of Connie Ridgeway, for which White is facing capital murder charges. The county sheriff has said the two maintained communication when he was transferred back to state prison.
Their escape together ignited an 11-day manhunt which spanned multiple states and captured widespread national attention. Though the search for them has ended, questions remain about the circumstances of Vicky White’s death and the future Casey White now faces.
HHOW WAS VICKY WHITE SHOT?
It’s unclear from the 911 audio how Vicky White sustained the gunshot injury and a coroner’s report has yet to be released.
In dispatch audio from Evansville police, the dispatcher can be heard advising law enforcement units that “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 finger on a trigger. However, other people in the recording — apparently responding officers — can be heard saying her finger was on the trigger when they found her.
No law enforcement officers fired any shots during the chase, according to Lauderdale County Sheriff Rick Singleton.
When officers pulled Casey White out of 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 didn’t do it, according to U.S. Marshal Marty Keely, who said to their knowledge, the pair was not married. Authorities previously said the officer and inmate were not related.
If Vicky White did shoot herself, it is not yet clear if she did it intentionally or if she accidentally fired the gun in the chaos of the chase.
Casey White indicated he intended to have a shootout with law enforcement if his car had not been rammed into a ditch, Vanderburgh County, Indiana, Sheriff Dave Wedding said Tuesday, citing White’s interviews with investigators after his capture.
“(Casey White) said he was probably going to have a shootout, at the stake of both of them losing their lives,” Wedding said.
WHATE WILL HAPPEN TO CASEY WHITE?
Casey White was 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 escape in the first degree, in addition to capital murder charges he was already facing related to Ridgeway’s death. White allegedly confessed to killing her but later pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, authorities said.
After the hearing, White was transferred directly to the William E. Donaldson Correctional Facility, a state prison in Bessemer, Alabama, a little more 100 miles (160 kilometres) 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, carjacking and police chase, according to the U.S. Marshals Service.
White’s murder trial is currently set for June. During Tuesday’s court appearance, White’s attorney, Jamy Poss, said he would be filing a change of venue motion, which the judge said he would consider.