Wednesday, 12 December, 2018

Mental Patients Chained in Back of Sheriff’s Van Drown During Florence

Floodwaters surround an area in South Carolina Modal Trigger Floodwaters surround an area in South Carolina. AP
Johnnie Parks | 20 September, 2018, 10:41

The women were identified as a 46-year-old from Shallotte, North Carolina, and a 44-year-old from Myrtle Beach. They were headed to facilities in Darlington and Lancaster. "It's come up two feet since just last night". Richardson, who serves as coroner in adjacent Marion County, confirmed their deaths that night, but authorities had to leave the bodies and van in the water until conditions were less hazardous.

In North Carolina, transportation officials Tuesday continued advising motorists who ordinarily might take southbound I-95 from Virginia to SC that flooding has made long sections of I-95 in North Carolina impassable.

"A Horry County Sheriff's Office transportation vehicle was involved in a high-water incident tonight".

In a statement emailed to reporters, Horry County Sheriff Phillip Thompson identified the women as Windy Newton, 45, and Nicolette Green, 43. "We are fully cooperating with the State Law Enforcement Division to support their investigation of this event".

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. Officials said the van was near the Little Pee Dee River, one of the bodies of water state officials were watching following the heavy rains of Florence.

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They were about halfway through the trip by 6 p.m., on Highway 76 near the Little Pee Dee River, when the van encountered the running water. Richardson later told the Washington Post that sheriff's deputies often transfer mental-health patients saying, "It's a courtesy they do. It makes it seem like someone took a very unnecessary risk in creating the problem in the first place".

Holden said that deputies tried to get the victims out but couldn't.

"High water rescue teams arrived and were able to rescue the two deputies from the top of the van". "Just like you, we have questions we want answered". "People need to know exactly how it happened".

Thompson said he did not think Green and Newton were in restraints when the van hit the floodwaters. This incident is being investigated by the State Law Enforcement Division (SLED). At almost 7 p.m. Wednesday, State Law Enforcement Division spokesman Thom Berry confirmed the bodies had been recovered. Our deputies were driving the vehicle when it was swept away by floodwaters. By the time they got there, the van was underwater, and the deputies were on the roof.

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