Family Outraged After Women Die Trapped in Flooded Van Driven by Deputies

More miles of I-95 in SC closed due to flooding | The Herald Sun

More miles of I-95 in SC closed due to flooding | The Herald Sun

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

"Deputies are supposed take care the people that are in the back of their vehicle", said Rose Hershberger, Nicolette's oldest daughter.

"They trusted the hospitals and the sheriff deputies with their lives and that trust was abused", the family said in a statement.

According to the Marion County Coroner, the deceased individuals are Windy Newton, 45, of Shallotte, NC and Nicolette Green, 43, of Myrtle Beach.

Chief Deputy Tom Fox said the van was overtaken by water about ½ mile from the Little Pee Dee River.

The deputies who were transporting the two women to a different facility in SC were saved, local law enforcement officials told ABC News late Tuesday. However, the women would have had no way to escape without someone opening the doors for them from outside the vehicle, Richardson said.

Richardson said the patients' bodies were being recovered Wednesday morning.

Harrowing police scanner audio provides details of the efforts to save the women, who could be heard talking as rescuers scrambled to save them.

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Or northbound motorists from Georgia could get off I-95 and take either I-26 or I-20 to Columbia and then catch I-77 to Charlotte, the agency said. Richardson later told the Washington Post that sheriff's deputies often transfer mental-health patients saying, "It's a courtesy they do".

The incident is being investigated by the State Law Enforcement Division. Thompson says the van submerged and the deputies weren't able to save the women from the back. Thompson said neither deputy had committed any significant past driving infractions in connection with their duties. High-water rescue teams rescued the deputies from on top of the van.

Answering a question as to why the women were moved amid Hurricane Florence, Thompson said it was protocol. "It makes it seem like someone took a very unnecessary risk in creating the problem in the first place".

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.

Last night, we had a tragedy.

The South Carolina Department of Corrections tweeted pictures on Monday of prisoners preparing to defend their facilities from flooding.

At the time of writing, the van is still in the water.

In all, Hurricane Florence has contributed to at least 37 deaths, including at least 27 in North Carolina, officials say.

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