Family Outraged After Women Die Trapped in Flooded Van Driven by Deputies
21 September, 2018, 20:28 | Author: Cynthia Curry
Two female patients at a mental health facilitydrowned after they became trapped in a police van as it was overcome by floodwaters in SC, authorities said.
South Carolina's Department of Transportation (SCDOT) ordered Interstate 95 in Florence County closed at around 6:00 p.m. EDT on Wednesday evening - hours after this news outlet sounded the alarm about rising flood waters spilling over the banks of the Great Pee Dee River.
Horry County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Brooke Holden said a sheriff's office van was carrying two "detainees" and two deputies to Darlington on Tuesday night when it was overtaken by floodwaters.
"Despite persistent and ongoing efforts, floodwater rose rapidly and the deputies were unable to open the doors to reach the individuals inside the van", the sheriff's office's statement said.
Authorities confirm two detainees drowned when a van was swept away in rising flood waters in SC. They have been placed on administrative leave, the HCSO said in a statement.
Thompson said he did not think the women were in restraints in the back of the van, noting that restraints are used for combative patients "and I understand they were not". That effort resumed Wednesday morning, and Thompson said a specialized crew was being flown in from Charleston to assist.
Thompson also said he didn't know if the deputies had driven around any barricades blocking the roads.
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.
Rescue teams were able to get to the deputies, authorities said. "It's come up 2 feet since just last night".
WMBF News reporter Patrick Lloyd was first on scene and saw a heavy emergency response presence that consisted of the Horry County Sheriff's Office, Marion Sheriff's Office, the National Guard, and many other agencies. "It could be assumed that he did", Thompson said Wednesday. "Just like you, we have questions we want answered". Richardson said the deputy who was driving had been "trying to negotiate through fast-running water, and it just didn't work out".
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