Women die in flooded van driven by South Carolina deputies

Women die in flooded van driven by South Carolina deputies

Authorities confirm two detainees drowned when a van was swept away in rising flood waters in SC.

Horry County referred all questions about the incident - including whether the women had been locked up or were merely being transported - to state investigators, who said they had no new information to release.

The two women - passengers in an Horry County sheriff's office van - were chained inside the back of the vehicle when it experienced a "high-water incident" while traveling west on Highway 76.

High-water rescue teams arrived and were able to rescue the two deputies from the top of the van, according to the statement. That effort resumed Wednesday morning, and Thompson said a specialized crew was being flown in from Charleston to assist.

The Horry County Sheriff's Office transport van was still in the water as of about 8:45 p.m. Tuesday, WPDE reported. "It could be assumed that he did", Thompson said Wednesday.

The incident is now being investigated by the State Law Enforcement Division.

"They were trying to negotiate through fast-running water, and it just didn't work out", said the coroner, Jerry Richardson.

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Two mental health patients referred to by officials as "detainees" who drowned in the back of a sheriff's department transport van in SC have no arrest records in the state. Thompson said he has also begun an internal investigation and put the deputies involved - Joshua Bishop and Stephen Flood - on administrative leave.

According to the sheriff's office, the two detainees were being transferred from Waccamaw Mental Health in Myrtle Beach and McLeod Loris Hospital in Loris to McLeod Behavioral Health in Darlington, S.C. "We are fully cooperating with the State Law Enforcement Division to support their investigation of this event".

President Donald Trump on Wednesday visited North Carolina, which is bearing the brunt of Florence's deadly deluge and where rivers are still rising while thousands of homes and roadways remain submerged.

It happened in Horry County on Highway 917 Tuesday night as the van was in still water on Pee Dee Island Road near the bridge.

Hurricane Florence started off as a Category 4 major hurricane but was downgraded to tropical storm right before it hit mainland in North and SC.

Holden says the deputies tried to get the detainees out but couldn't open the doors.

"If that road is in an area where it is a flood risk, and waters were rising, why were they driving on that road anyway?" he said.

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