Women die in flooded van driven by South Carolina deputies

APThe Lumber River overflows onto a stretch Interstate 95 in Lumberton N.C. Tuesday Sept. 18 2018 following flooding from Hurricane Florence

The Marion County coroner has identified the two women who drowned in a Horry County sheriff's van on Tuesday night.

Horry County referred all questions about the incident - including whether the women had been locked up or were merely being transported - to state investigators, who said they had no new information to release.

Police officials told The Sun News that the deputies tried to help the victims, but couldn't open the van doors because the water was rising too fast. High-water rescue teams rescued the deputies from on top of the van.

"We want those who are responsible to be held accountable", it reads in part.

"It's still hard, we've got rising, rapid water, debris-infested water, dark water, and the auto is all the way under the water now", Richardson said Wednesday afternoon.

The two individuals being transported were confirmed dead by the Marion County coroner. They trusted the hospitals and the Sheriff Deputies with their lives and that trust was abused.

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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.

Some roads in Marion and Horry County are impacted by floods after Hurricane Florence passed through the area. Thompson said neither deputy had committed any significant past driving infractions in connection with their duties. "We are just very sorry that this event has taken place". "It's come up two feet since just last night".

Newton had posted on her Facebook page that she previously had been hospitalized for mental illness. He said the deputies, Stephen Flood and Joshua Bishop, drove around barricades on the flooded road, and authorities are trying to figure out why.

Thompson also said he didn't know if the deputies had driven around any barricades blocking the roads.

The incident happened in the area of the Little Pee Dee River, which branches off from the Lumber River, in Mullins, South Carolina.

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. Compounding the problem, storm runoff from North Carolina - which was battered by Florence - is now flowing through the Palmetto State via the Yadkin-Pee Dee drainage basin, which terminates in Winyah Bay near Georgetown, S.C.

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