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

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. The women were in the back of the van, in shackles.

The Horry County Sheriff's Office described the women as detainees, though a county coroner told the Associated Press that they were mental-health patients - 45-year-old Windy Wenton and 43-year-old Nicolette Green - being transported to a facility further inland. He said the van was traveling "on road 76 into Marion County when it was overcome with flood waters". Thompson says the van submerged and the deputies weren't able to save the women from the back. "Due to risky conditions and rising waters, additional search and rescue teams are arriving to assist in the recovery of the vehicle".

Tuesday night, with the van still underwater, state police were on the way to the scene, a South Carolina Law Enforcement Division spokesperson told a local news station.

The Horry County Sheriff's Office transport van was still in the water as of about 8:45 p.m. Tuesday, WPDE reported. "Just like you, we have questions we want answered".

Sheriff's deputies at the scene where two women died while being transported in a police van in SC. That effort resumed Wednesday morning, but Thompson said a specialized crew was being flown in from Charleston to assist. In March, Christopher Bennett died after eating drugs and suffering medical issues, a SLED investigation found. Thom Berry with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division said during part of the recovery effort, they tried putting boats in the water so they could get the victims out of the van.

A spokesman for the department added: 'In the past, it's been safer to leave them there'.

A resident surveys a road inundated by water in Lumberton, N.C., Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018, following flooding from Hurricane Florence. It was reported the deputies were driving west on 76.

According to statute, the documents authorizing the admission require "a law enforcement officer, preferably in civilian clothes and preferably with crisis intervention training, to take into custody and transport the person to the hospital designated by the certification". Earlier, Marion County Coroner Jerry Richardson had Newton identified with a different last name. Due to risky conditions and rising waters, additional search and rescue teams are arriving to assist in the recovery of the vehicle. Two additional investigations including a traffic investigation and an internal investigation are taking place, he said.

  • Santos West