Women die in flooded van driven by South Carolina deputies

Posted September 21, 2018

"I'm not sure if it was the way the van was positioned, against a guardrail, or if it was pressure from the water, but unfortunately they were not able to get the van doors open and get the ladies out", Horry County Sheriff Phillip Thompson told reporters Wednesday afternoon. "It's come up 2 feet (0.6 metres) since just last night".

The two women were described in news reports as "mental health patients" at Loris Hospital and Waccamaw Center for Mental Health in Horry County, and were on medical transport.

The deputies in the van were rescued and taken to the hospital, according to our source, but the patients were chained in the back of the van.

Stephen Flood, a 10-year veteran of the sheriff's office, and Joshua Bishop, a six-year veteran, escaped the van after it encountered floodwaters near U.S. Highway 76 and Pee Dee Island Road in Marion County.

Thompson was asked if the vehicle drove around barriers on the road, and said that was under investigation.

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"I know it was hard to leave home, and it is even harder to wait and wonder whether you even have a home to go back to", Gov. Roy Cooper said, according to The Associated Press.

The incident is being investigated by the State Law Enforcement Division and SC highway patrol. The victims were being transferred to McLeod Behavioral Health in Darlington, South Carolina, reports WPDE. Thompsons said his office would cooperate with the probe. Rescue teams responded in time to save the deputies.

"We want those who are responsible to be held accountable", it reads in part.

Rescue teams were able to save the deputies from the van's roof, but they could not pull the vehicle from the water because it was too unsafe, according to the release.

The van couldn't be removed Tuesday night because of rising waters and unsafe conditions, according to the release. Chief Deputy Tom Fox of the Horry County Sheriff's Office did not respond to an email request for the spellings.

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Justin Bamberg, a state lawmaker and lawyer who has represented the families of several people injured or killed by law enforcement officers, said Wednesday he's perplexed by the decision to transport anyone in such uncertain weather conditions. Their names also yielded no records in the Horry County jail and court index systems.

"If that road is in an area where it is a flood risk, and waters were rising, why were they driving on that road anyway?" he said.

Facebook/Jewels Green Nicolette Green pictured on her sister's Facebook page. "We are just very sorry that this event has taken place". "People need to know exactly how it happened".

Aides say President Donald Trump will visit North Carolina on Wednesday to see the damage.

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