Published: Thu, September 20, 2018
Health Care | By Alice Shelton

Drown After Horry Co. Sheriff's Van Swept Away By Flood Waters

Drown After Horry Co. Sheriff's Van Swept Away By Flood Waters

The statement reads, "Despite persistent and ongoing efforts, floodwater rose rapidly and the deputies were unable to open the doors to reach the individuals in the van".

The women who died have been identified by the Marion County coroner as Nicolette Green, 43, of Myrtle Beach, and Wendy Newton, 45, of Shallotte, N.C. "It makes it seem like someone took a very unnecessary risk".

In a statement, the sheriff's office said the two deputies escaped from the cab and tried to get the women out of the back.

In South Carolina, just south of the North Carolina border, I-95 travels through especially low-lying swamp land, and over the Great Pee Dee and Little Pee Dee rivers. "They're still under the water", Richardson told the Associated Press this morning.

Rescue crews needed about 45 minutes to find the van, which was under water at that point, and plucked the Horry County deputies from the roof, the sheriff said.

Hurricane Florence has now killed at least three dozen people - including at least eight in SC.

In a release, Horry County Sheriff Phillip Thompson said his office would cooperate with the probe. The incident is under investigation by the State Law Enforcement Division. "People need to know exactly how it happened".

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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.

Green's mother declined to speak to a reporter Wednesday but said, "It's just a tragedy".

Thompson said he did not believe the women were in restraints in the back of the van.

According to statute, the documents authorizing the admission require "a law enforcement officer, preferably in civilian clothes and preferably with crisis intervention training, to take into custody and transport the person to the hospital designated by the certification". "Just like you, we have questions we want answered".

The van was traveling west on Highway 76 into neighboring Marion County when floodwaters overcame the vehicle.

Investigators are in the early stages of conducting interviews and gathering evidence, SLED spokesman Thom Berry said. At almost 7 p.m. Wednesday, State Law Enforcement Division spokesman Thom Berry confirmed the bodies had been recovered.

The SCDOT added the driver of the vehicle had to go around a barrier to get stuck where they were. First responders decided not to continue rescue operations at the scene because of the conditions, Thompson said.

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