Published: Sat, September 22, 2018
Medical | By Johnnie Horton

Women chained in police van drown in Hurricane Florence floods

Women chained in police van drown in Hurricane Florence floods

"We want those who are responsible to be held accountable", it reads in part.

Stephen Flood, a 10-year veteran of the sheriff's office, and Joshua Bishop, a six-year veteran, escaped the van after it encountered floodwaters near U.S. Highway 76 and Pee Dee Island Road in Marion County.

"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.

Thompson said his office was responding to court orders to transport the women from a hospital and a mental-health center.

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

It was reported early Tuesday that the Pee Dee River was rising above flood stage and spilling its banks and roadways were flooding but some passable. That effort resumed Wednesday morning, and Thompson said a specialized crew was being flown in from Charleston to assist.

The coroner in neighboring Marion County confirmed the two deceased patients were female, and the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division is investigating the incident, according to the statement.

So far, at least 37 people have died in Hurricane Florence-related incidents, according to CBS, including 27 in North Carolina, 8 in SC, and 2 in Virginia.

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"I know it was hard to leave home, and it is even harder to wait and wonder whether you even have a home to go back to", Govenor Roy Cooper said.

Cooper warned that the flooding is far from over and will get worse in places.

President Donald Trump is slated to visit North Carolina on September 19 to see the damage.

It was being driven by deputies from the Horry County Sheriff's Office.

Two deputies tried to help the victims, but the floodwater rapidly rose and the deputies couldn't open the doors, according to the sheriff's office. "Due to risky conditions and rising waters, additional search and rescue teams are arriving to assist in the recovery of the vehicle". The two Horry County deputies who were responsible for transporting the women attempted to save them, according to the law enforcement narrative, but were unsuccessful in their efforts.

Marion county coroner Jerry Richardson has confirmed that two people drowned on the Little Pee Dee river.

Justin Bamberg, a state lawmaker and lawyer who has represented the families of several people injured or killed by law enforcement officers, said he's perplexed by the decision to transport anyone in such uncertain weather conditions.

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