FLORENCE, Ala. — The conspicuous orange getaway car used by escaped convict Casey Cole White and former jail boss Vicky White was ditched on a rural Tennessee road “in the middle of nowhere” just hours after their alleged escape, officials said Friday.
The 2007 Ford Edge, which Vicky bought sometime before she and Casey allegedly fled the Lauderdale County jail last Friday around 9:30 a.m., was found locked and abandoned about four hours later near the corner of Smithson Road and Banner Adams Road in College Grove, about a two hour drive north of the jail.
“Obviously they were taking the back roads,” Lauderdale County Sheriff Rick Singleton said during a news conference, calling Vicky and Casey’s relationship a “jailhouse romance.”
“Because it was abandoned so quickly, they probably had mechanical problems with it. It was abandoned pretty much in the middle of nowhere on the side of a country road where it would obviously draw attention and be found.”
The pair’s last known whereabouts was the Florence Square shopping center in Alabama where Vicky ditched her sheriff’s cruiser for the Ford Edge after stashing it in the parking lot in the days leading up to the alleged escape.
The Williamson County Sheriff’s Office received a call about the abandoned vehicle last Friday and sent Heithcock Towing to pick it up and impound it about 45 minutes later.
At the time the car was discovered, investigators hadn’t yet concluded that Vicky and Casey were missing and were not aware of the vehicle, which had been purchased under an alias, Singleton said.
Late Thursday, nearly a week after the two went missing, the tow company realized the car they’d picked up matched the pair’s getaway vehicle and alerted the sheriff’s office, which reported the finding to the US Marshal’s Fugitive Task Force around 11:30 p.m., Singleton said.
US Marshal Marty Keely told The Post it was “critical” to get information about the car’s location in a “timely manner” but unfortunately, the tip came too late.
“Somebody wasn’t watching the news,” said Keely.
“They could be anywhere.”
The vehicle was recovered at the tow pound on Friday by US Marshals and investigators soon determined it was Vicky’s.
Images of the car show that it’d been crudely spray painted with a heather green, camouflage-like color – an apparent attempt to hide the vehicle’s conspicuous shade – but only a few sections of the car had been covered.
“It’s a botched up job,” Singleton said, adding nothing of note had been found inside the vehicle.
He previously told The Post on Wednesday the Ford Edge was their primary lead and once they learned the car had been ditched, they’d be back to square one.
On Friday, he said investigators are “at a loss.”
“They were on foot when they lost their vehicle. Did they steal another car? Did they hitch a ride with somebody or something? We don’t know… We’re hoping they maybe walked somewhere and then stole a vehicle,” Singleton said.
“I think her knowledge of corrections and the procedures we use here in the sheriff’s office most definitely play to her advantage… This was a very calculated plan.”
Chad Hunt, the Commander of the USMS’s Gulf Coast Regional Fugitive Task Force, told The Post they “know” the pair headed north to Tennessee “for a specific reason.”
“We have done one or two interviews with every family member. We are not concerned family members are helping them out,” Hunt explained.
“Today the focus is interviewing anybody who was in the area…. We have a direction. We know at least where they dumped the vehicle, albeit a week ago.”
The sheriff also revealed that prior to the escape, Vicky had withdrawn about $90,000 in cash from a variety of bank accounts, money she’s believed to have earned from selling her home about a week and a half before she disappeared, and “had plenty of cash.”
Singleton also announced an upgraded reward for information leading to the pair’s capture – $15,000 for Casey and another $10,000 for Vicky.