Published: Sat, September 22, 2018
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

Two ‘Mental Health Patients’ Chained in Sheriff's Van Drown

Two ‘Mental Health Patients’ Chained in Sheriff's Van Drown

The van was carrying the detainees to a different facility in Darlington, South Carolina when it was overtaken by flood waters on Tuesday.

The identity of the 2 women has been made public, along with assurances from the Sheriff's Office that they were not, contrary to reports, shackled in the back of the van when the flood came. "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". That effort resumed Wednesday morning, but Thompson said a specialized crew was being flown in from Charleston to assist.

In a statement emailed to reporters, Horry County Sheriff Phillip Thompson identified the women as Windy Newton, 45, and Nicolette Green, 43. Thompson said neither deputy had committed any significant past driving infractions in connection with their duties. Just like you, we have questions we want answered.

The South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division is now investigating the matter, according to the report.

The van was traveling west on Highway 76 into neighboring Marion County when floodwaters overcame the vehicle.

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.

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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.

'They were trying to negotiate through fast-running water, and it just didn't work out, ' he said. The two deputies were rescued, the occupants have not been recovered.

Holden said that deputies tried to get the victims out but couldn't.

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. "We are fully cooperating with the State Law Enforcement Division to support their investigation of this event".

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After submerging North Carolina with almost one metre of rain, the storm dumped more than 16.5cm of rain in the Northeast, where it caused flash flooding. Officials say the van was traveling near the Little Pee Dee River, one of the bodies of water officials in SC are watching closely as water continues to poor into the state from upriver in North Carolina following the heavy rains of Florence.

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