Two die in flooded sheriff's transport van


Windy Newton and Nicolette Green were being transported by van to separate mental health facilities Tuesday night after being involuntarily committed by physicians, the Horry County Sheriff's Office told HuffPost in a statement.

The two women were described in news reports as "mental health patients" at Loris Hospital and Waccamaw Center for Mental Health in Horry County, and were on medical transport.

"Tonight's incident is a tragedy", said Horry County Sheriff Phillip Thompson. "She said if you ever have anything bad, just put all your bad feelings in these cupcakes and eat them", said Rose.

The incident has spawned investigations by the State Law Enforcement Division and Highway Patrol. Once the bodies are recovered, they'll be transported to the Medical University of SC for autopsies, he said.

Marion County Coroner Jerry Richardson confirmed to AP earlier Tuesday that two women died in the incident.

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Their names also yielded no records in the Horry County jail and court index systems.

"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. That effort resumed Wednesday morning, but Thompson said a specialized crew was being flown in from Charleston to assist.

She said her mother was a trusting person who was betrayed by the deputies.

The N.C. Department of Agriculture issued the mortality totals as major flooding continues in the state due to the storm's drenching rains.

Hershberger said that her mother was diagnosed with schizophrenia three years ago and took medication for the condition; a new therapist who Green visited on September 18, determined she needed to be committed to a mental institution.

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When it comes to the deputies who assist in transport, Thompson said that they have gone through extensive intense training. "It's come up two feet since just last night".

Officials said that the van was near the Little Pee Dee River, one of the bodies of water that state officials are watching following the heavy rains of Florence.

South Carolina Law Enforcement Division Spokesman Thom Berry said recovery efforts are set for today - the van and the victims remain in the flood waters at the scene. He said the deputies, Stephen Flood and Joshua Bishop, drove around barricades on the flooded road, and authorities are trying to figure out why.

The death toll from Hurricane Florence climbed to at least 37, and North Carolina's governor pleaded with thousands of evacuees not to return home just yet.

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