Medicine

Two die in flooded sheriff's transport van

Two die in flooded sheriff's transport van

Two women who were being transported to a mental health facility drowned when a sheriff's department van was swept away in rising SC floodwaters, according to authorities.

Richardson identified the two patients as Wendy Wenton, of Shallotte; and Nicolette Green, of Myrtle Beach. The women remained chained in the van. The women were in the back of the van, in shackles.

The Horry County Sheriff's Office van was transporting the two women from Horry County to other hospitals, Richardson said. In an email, Fox confirmed to CNN that the women were mental health patients headed to Darlington, but he declined to divulge from what facilities they were being transported. A spokesman for the division told Greenville Online, "Tonight's incident is a tragedy". We take a lot of pride in what we do. "It makes it seem like someone took a very unnecessary risk in creating the problem in the first place".

South Carolina's Department of Transportation (SCDOT) ordered Interstate 95 in Florence County closed at around 6:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday evening - hours after this news outlet sounded the alarm about rising flood waters spilling over the banks of the Great Pee Dee River. HCSO is conducting an internal investigation.

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

Thompson said he was concerned with the five deaths, but he said those at the detention center were different. "We will be there for whatever questions they may have, the public and anyone else". They were women who voluntarily sought help. "People need to know exactly how it happened".

The van was traveling west on Highway 76 into neighboring Marion County when floodwaters overcame the vehicle. According to some accounts, water swept the vehicle off the road.

Thompson also said he didn't know if the deputies had driven around any barricades blocking the roads. Police said a court order allowed them to transport Green and Newton.

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"Despite persistent and ongoing efforts, floodwater rose rapidly and the deputies were unable to open the doors to reach the individuals inside the van", Thompson said.

"High water rescue teams arrived and were able to rescue the two deputies from the top of the van".

Because of darkness, responders decided trying to retrieve the women's bodies from the van Tuesday night wasn't safe.

Justin Bamberg, a state lawmaker and lawyer who has represented the families of several people injured or killed by law enforcement officers, said he's perplexed by the decision to transport anyone in such uncertain weather conditions.

"We want answers", Green's sister, Donnela Green-Johnson, said in a Facebook post.

The N.C. Department of Agriculture issued the mortality totals as major flooding continues in the state due to the storm's drenching rains.

Gov. Roy Cooper told a news conference Tuesday is was hard for residents to leave home, and it's even harder for them to wait to go back. "It's come up two feet since just last night".


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