Thursday, 21 February, 2019

Two female mental health patients drown while chained up in police van

Water from The Little Pee Dee River floods business and washes out part of Rte. 301 Two female mental health patients drown while chained up in police van
Melissa Porter | 20 September, 2018, 02:24

We work hard to protect and to serve our citizens. "It makes it seem like someone took a very unnecessary risk in creating the problem in the first place".

The incident has spawned investigations by the State Law Enforcement Division and Highway Patrol. HCSO is conducting an internal investigation.

Thompson said he was concerned with the five deaths, but he said those at the detention center were different.

Two deputies were able to escape the vehicle, a news release said.

"We get an order to transport to a facility, that's what we do", Thompson said. "Last year we transported over 1,200 mental patients, this past year and drove about 40,000 miles transporting and never had an incident like this".

The drowning deaths are the fifth deaths under the Horry County Sheriff's Office's purview this year.

A Horry County Sheriff's Office transportation vehicle was involved in a high-water incident tonight.

The deputies in the van were rescued and taken to the hospital, according to our source, but the patients were chained in the back of the van.

As the van traveled down USA 76 - about a half-mile from the Little Pee Dee River, which separates Mullins from the town of Nichols - high water swept away the vehicle.

The two deputies attempted to extricate the persons being transported. 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 deputies waited on top of the van until rescuers arrived.

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

Crews did not recover the bodies of Green and Newton on Tuesday night.

Investigators are in the early stages of conducting interviews and gathering evidence, SLED spokesman Thom Berry said. "Just like you, we have questions we want answered".

Justin Bamberg, a state lawmaker and lawyer who has represented the families of several people injured or killed by law enforcement officers, said Wednesday he's perplexed by the decision to transport anyone in such uncertain weather conditions. Once the bodies are recovered, they'll be transported to the Medical University of SC for autopsies, he said.

The tragedy happened near the Little Pee Dee River, one of the bodies of water that state officials are watching following the heavy rains of storm Florence. "It's come up 2 feet (0.6 metres) since just last night".