New photos from the Horry County Sheriff’s Office van drowning incident have been released by the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources.
News13 obtained the photos from SCDNR through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.
Nicolette Green and Wendy Newton died in September when the Horry County Sheriff’s Office van they were in became submerged in floodwaters that rose on Highway 76 in Marion County after Hurricane Florence. Green and Newton were being moved from two different facilities to McLeod Behavioral Health in Darlington at the time.
12th Circuit Solicitor Ed Clements announced in early January that charges would be filed against the two officers involved, Stephen Flood and Joshua Bishop.
Flood has been charged with two counts each of reckless homicide and involuntary manslaughter. Bishop was charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter.
Flood and Bishop appeared before a Marion County judge after turning themselves in to the Marion County Detention Center on January 4.
Flood’s bond was set at $30,000 by a judge. Flood was released on bond before noon on January 4, according to booking records.
Bishop’s bond was set at $10,000. Booking records show he was released on bond before 11 a.m. on January 4.
Several South Carolina senators recently introduced a bill related to transporting mental health patients.
According to the SC State House website, the bill was filed by Senator Marlon Kimpson (D- Charleston), Sen. Katrina Shealy (R- Lexington), Sen. Mike Fanning (D- Fairfield), and Sen. Tom Davis (R- Beaufort).
The bill’s summary says:
A bill to amend section 44-17-440 of the 1976 code, relating to the custody and transport of a person who is believed to have a mental illness and is requiring immediate care, to provide that a state or local law enforcement officer responsible for transporting the patient must be a part of a therapeutic transport unit and have undergone mental health and crisis intervention training, and to provide that a physician responsible for the patient’s care must notify a friend or relative that the friend or relative may transport the patient to the mental health facility and that the friend or relative freely chooses to assume that responsibility and liability for the transport.
The senate referred the bill to the Committee on Medical Affairs.
In September of 2018, Brooke Holden with the HCSO said the transport van was waved past barricades by National Guardsmen the night of the drownings.
The South Carolina National Guard responded the next day.
News13 spoke with the sister of Nicolette Green weeks after her drowning. Donnela Green-Johnson asked for reform for mental health illness policies and procedures.
In November, she was joined by others in asking for change in how mentally ill people should be handled and transported.