Monday, 12 November, 2018

Flood Waters Kill Two Horry County Detainees

More miles of I-95 in SC closed due to flooding | The Herald Sun Mental health patients drown in Florence floodwaters after cops fail to free them
Alonzo Parks | 20 September, 2018, 10:41

According to a release from the Horry County Sheriff's Office, deputies were transporting two detainees from Conway to Darlington when the transport van was overtaken by flood waters.

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. "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".

"Tonight's incident is a tragedy", said Horry County Sheriff Phillip Thompson, according to local reports. 'Just like you, we have questions we want answered'. "We are fully cooperating with the State Law Enforcement Division to support their investigation of this event". Richardson later told the Washington Post that sheriff's deputies often transfer mental-health patients saying, "It's a courtesy they do". "They're still under the water", Richardson told the Associated Press this morning.

The two deputies attempted to extricate the persons being transported.

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.

The van couldn't be removed Tuesday night because of rising waters and risky conditions, according to the release.

The women had been involuntarily committed by a physician, authorities said. They were women who voluntarily sought help.

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Investigators are in the early stages of conducting interviews and gathering evidence, SLED spokesman Thom Berry said.

The van was traveling west on Highway 76 into neighboring Marion County when floodwaters overcame the vehicle. Officials said the van was near the Little Pee Dee River, one of the bodies of water state officials were watching following the heavy rains of Florence.

The SCDOT added the driver of the vehicle had to go around a barrier to get stuck where they were.

The river stands at more than 14 feet and is expected to reach 15.6 feet by Thursday night. It could have been water pressure or the way the van was resting against a guard rail, he said.

We are now working with the SCDNR to recover the vehicle. Chief Deputy Tom Fox of the Horry County Sheriff's Office did not respond to an email request for the spellings.

The officers involved in the incident are placed on administrative leave.

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