Settlement approved for family of woman who drowned inside Horry County Sheriff’s Office van during Hurricane Florence

Grand Strand

CONWAY, S.C. (WBTW) – A settlement for the family of a woman who drowned while being transported in an Horry County Sheriff’s Office van during Hurricane Florence has been approved.

Linda Green- the mother of drowning victim Nicolette Green, along with attorneys, were awarded $1,000,000, according to the settlement agreement filed on Monday.

Nicolette Green, also known as Nicolette French, was being taken to an appointment for mental health services when she drowned in the caged van driven by Horry County deputies in late 2018. The caged compartment was manufactured by American Aluminum Accessories.

Linda claimed previously that American Aluminum Accessories had a liability insurance policy worth $1 million at the time of the incident. A petition for approval of a settlement filed in the 15th Judicial Circuit on May 28 stated that American Aluminum Accessories had agreed to the settlement of $1 million, $500,000 for the wrongful death claim, and $500,000 for the survival claims.

Linda Green, on behalf of the estate, is also suing Horry County, the Horry County Sheriff’s Office, Sheriff Phillip Thompson, Elizabeth Orlando, and the two now-former deputies that were driving the transport van that French died in during Hurricane Florence.

Nicolette was being transported from Waccamaw Center for Mental Health to McLeod Behavior Health Services in Darlington. The van, which was also carrying Wendy Newton to a mental health services appointment, had been modified to include a caged compartment with only one exit door and one path of escape in case of an emergency. The family claims in the lawsuits that Nicolette would not have drowned if not for the “deliberate indifference of Defendant Horry County to the safety of the passengers for whose transport the County purchased, maintained and modified the vehicle.” Pictures inside HCSO van show what women saw in final moments 

Former deputies Stephen Flood and Joshua Bishop were the ones in charge of the van that night and a disciplinary report says Flood was the driver and that he “made a conscious decision to drive a transport van around a barricade and into floodwaters (a substantial risk) that resulted in the death of patients after being provided a safe route by supervisors to avoid floodwaters.”

Both Flood and Bishop were terminated from the Sheriff’s Office in October 2018. They were indicted by a Grand Jury in 2019.

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