Two mental-health patients in sheriff’s van drown in S.C. floodwaters

APThe Lumber River overflows onto a stretch Interstate 95 in Lumberton N.C. Tuesday Sept. 18 2018 following flooding from Hurricane Florence

APThe Lumber River overflows onto a stretch Interstate 95 in Lumberton N.C. Tuesday Sept. 18 2018 following flooding from Hurricane Florence

The two deputies worked to free the women, who were being transported Tuesday night as part of a court order, but were not able to save them from the back of the van, Horry County Sheriff Phillip Thompson told reporters. Harrowing police scanner audio provides details into the efforts to save the women, who could be heard talking as rescuers scrambled to save them. Despite persistent and ongoing efforts, floodwater rose rapidly and the deputies were unable to open the doors to reach the individuals inside the van. According to the report, the two deputies climbed to the top of the van and were rescued by a high water team. "Just like you, we have questions we want answered". Though in this case, it's possible Florence isn't to blame so much as the officers transporting the two women and the department that waited so long to relocate them. "They were trying to negotiate through fast-running water, and it just didn't work out", Richardson told AP about the incident.

The two deputies attempted to extricate the persons being transported.

Officials say the van was traveling near the Little Pee Dee River, one of the bodies of water officials in SC are watching closely as water continues to poor into the state from upriver in North Carolina following the heavy rains of Florence.

The van couldn't be removed Tuesday night because of rising waters and unsafe conditions, according to the release. Two deputies were in the van with them, though Wenton and Green were in the back. 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.

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




The tragedy happened near the Little Pee Dee River, one of the bodies of water that state officials are watching following the heavy rains of storm Florence.

The SCDOT added the driver of the vehicle had to go around a barrier to get stuck where they were. "It's come up two feet since just last night". It could have been water pressure or the way the van was resting against a guard rail, he said.

The incident took place in Marion County. Due to risky conditions and rising waters, additional search and rescue teams are arriving to assist in the recovery of the vehicle.

As I mentioned, we have as many questions, this is the very reason SLED and internal agencies are established.

Latest News