The Marion County coroner’s office released the names of the two women who drown after the Horry County Sheriff’s Office vehicle they were in became submerged in flood waters.
First responders were called to the scene of an incident involving an Horry County Sheriff’s Office transportation vehicle Tuesday evening, and two people have been confirmed drowned.
Marion County Coroner Jerry Richardson identifies the two women as Wendy Newton, 45, of Shallotte, NC and Nicolette Green, 43, of Myrtle Beach. The bodies will be sent to Charleston on Friday or Saturday for autopsies, says the coroner.
According to Sheriff Phillip Thompson, with the Horry County Sheriff’s Office, first responders were called to an incident involving an HCSO van on Highway 76 south of Nichols in Marion County.
In a press release from the Horry County Sheriff’s Office, it states the vehicle, staffed by two Horry County Sheriff’s Office deputies, was transporting two detainees from Conway to Darlington. The vehicle was traveling west on Highway 76 around ½ mile from the Little Pee Dee River when the vehicle was overtaken by flood waters.
Chief Deputy Tom Fox, with the HCSO, says two Horry County Sheriff’s deputies were transporting two mental health patients to McLeod Behavioral Health in Darlington. One patient was from Waccamaw Mental Health and the other was from Loris Hospital.
According to Fox, while driving down Hwy 76 in Marion County about a 1/2 mile from the Little Pee Dee River, the van was overtaken by water. The two deputies were rescued by high water rescue teams. The patients have not been recovered. The press release states, the two deputies attempted to extricate the persons being transported.
The release also states, “the recovery effort is ongoing, and the transportation vehicle cannot be removed due to rising waters and dangerous conditions.”
According to Marion County Coroner Jerry Richardson, Newton and Green drowned on the Little Pee Dee River.
The State Law Enforcement Division is handling the case.
Horry County Sheriff Phillip Thompson stated, “Tonight’s incident is a tragedy. 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.”
On Wednesday, Sheriff Thompson released a statement, saying:
Last night, we had a tragedy. Two individuals being transported by our HCSO van were involved in a high-water incident and died. Our deputies were driving the vehicle when it was swept away by floodwaters.
According to the Marion County Coroner, the deceased individuals are Windy Newton, 45, of Shallotte, NC and Nicolette Green, 43, of Myrtle Beach.
The incident took place in Marion County.
We are currently working with the SCDNR to recover the vehicle. Due to dangerous conditions and rising waters, additional search and rescue teams are arriving to assist in the recovery of the vehicle.
We are working hand-in-hand with the State Law Enforcement Division to cooperate in this investigation. Two additional investigations including a traffic investigation and an internal investigation are taking place.
As I mentioned, we have as many questions, this is the very reason SLED and internal agencies are established.
The officers involved in the incident are placed on administrative leave.
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