2 dead after van is swept away in S. Carolina

21 September, 2018, 20:27 | Author: Bruce West
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Two "detainees" in the custody of the Horry County Sheriff's Office died Tuesday night when a transport vehicle carrying them to Darlington was "overtaken by flood waters" that left them trapped inside the locked van, a sheriff's office news release said.

The incident has spawned investigations by the State Law Enforcement Division and Highway Patrol.

The Horry County Sheriff's Office was driving the women to a mental health facility in SC on Tuesday night, September 18, when the van was overcome with floodwaters near U.S. Highway 76 and Pee Dee Island Road in Marion County. Thompson says the van submerged and the deputies weren't able to save the women from the back. 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.

When it comes to the deputies who assist in transport, Thompson said that they have gone through extensive intense training. That effort resumed Wednesday morning, and Thompson said a specialized crew was being flown in from Charleston to assist.

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

County Sheriff Phillip Thompson said in a statement obtained by ABC News that South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division is investigating the tragic incident.

Horry County Deputy Tom Fox told WPDE-TV the victims were mental health patients being transported from one facility to another.

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"We want answers", Green's sister, Donnela Green-Johnson, said in a Facebook post. The sheriff's office characterized them as detainees.

"It's still hard, we've got rising, rapid water, debris-infested water, dark water, and the vehicle is all the way under the water now", Richardson said Wednesday afternoon.

The two deputies were rescued by high water rescue teams.

Those waters have risen another two feet (at least) since that picture was taken ... Thompson said neither deputy had committed any significant past driving infractions in connection with their duties.

"I know for many people this feels like a nightmare that just won't end", he said. "We are just very sorry that this event has taken place".

As for Nicolette's sister, she has one question: "What would prompt you to endanger your life and the life of the people the back, why?" said Donnela.

North Carolina's governor is pleading with thousands of Hurricane Florence evacuees to be patient and not return home just yet.

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