2 'detainees' drown as van swept into floodwaters

Desiree Steele
September 20, 2018

"I'm not sure if it was the way the van was positioned, against a guardrail, or if it was pressure from the water, but unfortunately they were not able to get the van doors open and get the ladies out". The sheriff said that the women were being transported as part of a court order, telling reporters that his agency acts as a courier in such situations, to follow a judge's wishes.

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 AP on Wednesday morning.

The sheriff's deputies survived after rescue teams arrived on the scene and brought them to safety.

Boats are sunk and aground at Carolina Beach after the hurricane swept through.

Horry County Sheriff Phillip Thompson stated, "Tonight's incident is a tragedy".

The incident is being investigated by the State Law Enforcement Division and SC highway patrol.

"I know that it is a very sad situation so ive just been praying for the victims and the families of the victims", said Martin.

A woman who answered the phone at a number listed for Flood told a reporter he didn't want to talk to anyone.

According to ABC affiliate WPDE, the patients were being transported from Loris Hospital Waccamaw Center for Mental Health to McLeod Health, which runs multiple facilities in the region. At almost 7 p.m. Wednesday, State Law Enforcement Division spokesman Thom Berry confirmed the bodies had been recovered.

Asked how the women were restrained in the back of the van, Fox told CNN they were "seat belted". Both deputies escaped the van, then attempted to save Wenton and Green.

Two women "detainees" chained in the back of a police van died when the vehicle was engulfed by Hurricane Florence floodwaters. At this time, the recovery effort is ongoing, and the transportation vehicle can not be removed due to rising waters and risky conditions.

The Marion County Coroner has confirmed the deaths of both detainees, who have not been identified. Earlier Wednesday, Marion County Coroner Jerry Richardson had identified Newton with a different last name.

SLED, the South Carolina Highway Patrol and the Horry County Sheriff's Office are investigating the incident.

A spokesman for the department added: 'In the past, it's been safer to leave them there'. By the time they got there, the van was underwater, and the deputies were on the roof.

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