Former deputies charged in deaths of women who drowned in transport van during Hurricane Florence

/ AP

Columbia, S.C. — Two South Carolina law officers were charged Friday in the deaths of two women who drowned while locked in the back of a sheriff's department van during Hurricane Florence. Stephen Flood is charged with two counts each of reckless homicide and involuntary manslaughter, according to online court records. Joshua Bishop faces two counts of involuntary manslaughter.

A judge set bond at $30,000 for Flood and $10,000 for Bishop and both were released after posting bail.

Flood, 66, and Bishop, 29, were fired from the Horry County Sheriff's Office in October as part of an internal investigation. Authorities said the deputies were driving 45-year-old Wendy Newton and 43-year-old Nicolette Green through Marion County to a mental-health facility under a court order when their van was swept away by rising floodwaters as Hurricane Florence inundated the state.

According to records from the state Criminal Justice Academy, Flood made a "conscious decision" to drive around a barricade near the Little Pee Dee River, and Bishop didn't try to stop him.

The powerful tropical system smashed into the Southeast coast as a hurricane Sept. 14, triggering severe flooding as it weakened yet nearly stalled over the Carolinas for days.

Green and Newton drowned in the back of the locked van on Sept. 18.

The families of both women tearfully addressed the judge Friday. Rose Hershberger, Green's oldest daughter and a high school senior, mourned her mother missing milestones like her graduation.

"Every night is just a constant lack of sleep," Hershberger said. "All I see is my mother, and I hear her screams and her cries."

Lawyers for both Bishop and Flood said their clients had no criminal history and both have ties to the community. Flood's lawyer, Allie Argoe, said her client had no intention to hurt the women in the van.

"We hope the truth of what really happened that day will come out," Argoe said.

During a November legislative hearing, advocates for the women said neither one was violent. Newton was only seeking medicine for her fear and anxiety the day she died, a family attorney said, while Green's family said she was committed at a regular mental health appointment by a counselor she had never seen before.

Horry County officials have said that the deputies tried unsuccessfully to rescue the women from the van, which was on its side, blocking the door the deputies would have needed to unlock with a key. When rescue crews finally arrived, the van was underwater, and the deputies were plucked from its roof.

Working numbers for Bishop and Flood could not be found. Their next court appearances were scheduled for late February.

Many roads in the northeastern part of the state were flooded out and blocked off in the days following the powerful storm. Authorities with the sheriff's department have said that the deputies, in a marked sheriff's department vehicle, were waved through a barricade near the Little Pee Dee River by National Guardsmen charged with keeping motorists out of the area.

The Little Pee Dee was one of several rivers officials watched closely in the days following the storm.

In the months since, a legislative committee has opened hearings into the incident, discussing potential changes to the laws on how patients who are committed to mental hospitals are handled by police. Democratic state Sen. Marlon Kimpson, who has headed up those hearings, said bipartisan legislation will be filed in the coming week, in the hopes of preventing similar tragedies in the future.

"Mental illness is not a law enforcement issue," Kimpson told The Associated Press. "It's a health issue, and that's where our focus needs to be."

First published on January 5, 2019

© 2019 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Ex-deputies charged in deaths of women who drowned in transport van

Authorities said the deputies were driving the women to a mental-health facility under a court order when their van was swept away by rising floodwaters

updated 18M ago

Teacher accused of feeding puppy to turtle found not guilty

Robert Crosland​ told an investigator "I honestly thought I was doing the right thing by putting it out of its misery"

1H ago

Yosemite National Park visitor died during shutdown

The man apparently died after falling into a river, and the investigation into his death is taking longer than usual due to the shutdown, a parks spokesman said

3H ago

Twitter account sets Ocasio-Cortez dancing video to hit songs

A new Twitter account is dedicated to editing Ocasio-Cortez's viral moves to your favorite songs

4H ago

New congresswoman on Trump: "Impeach the motherf—–"

Newly sworn-in Rep. Rashida Tlaib, in a video posted to Twitter, used strong language to call for Trump's impeachment

4H ago

Democrats sound off on impeachment, Tlaib remark

Margaret Brennan sat down with newly seated House Democrats for an interview to air Sunday on "Face the Nation"

4H ago

New congresswoman on Trump: "Impeach the motherf—–"

Newly sworn-in Rep. Rashida Tlaib, in a video posted to Twitter, used strong language to call for Trump's impeachment

4H ago

Retired Rep. Bob Brady plans on smoking pot after leaving Congress

Rep. Bob Brady says he will try pot for the first time once it is legalized in Pennsylvania

6H ago

Ethics group wants Ivanka Trump investigated for tax break program

The complaint comes after Trump and her husband Jared Kushner promoted a tax break that could benefit themselves

6H ago

Justice Department says its travel ban report "could be criticized"

The DOJ said it would not be retracting or correcting the study

6H ago

U.S. believes airstrike killed terrorist behind USS Cole bombing

Al-Badawi, who was listed on the FBI's most wanted terrorists list, escaped from prison in 2006

9H ago

Family of American detained in Russia urges Congress to take action

The family of Paul Whelan, an American man detained in Russia, is urging Congress to ensure his release from detention

11H ago

Officials face deadline to move 1,500 children from "tent city"

The Tornillo, Texas facility is funded through Jan. 31, but still houses 1,500 children

11H ago

Iran says warships coming to the Atlantic for 1st time

Islamic Republic's navy has been touting a maiden voyage to the U.S.'s back yard for a while, now they say a new destroyer will set sail this spring

13H ago

Monks show off mobility to protest driving ticket blamed on robe

Man refuses to pay traffic ticket and his fellow monks are now using social media to prove their robes do not inhibit mobility

14H ago

Lin-Manuel Miranda shares videos of "Hamilton" rehearsals in Puerto Rico

Miranda shared videos of the cast and orchestra rehearsing, giving people a sneak peak at the reprisal of his role in "Hamilton"

6H ago

Britney Spears going on "indefinite work hiatus" due to father's health

Spears will not be performing her new Vegas show "Britney: Domination"

8H ago

Ed Sheeran ordered to face lawsuit accusing him of plagiarizing Marvin Gaye

Lawsuit accuses songwriter of lifting Gaye's 1973 classic "Let's Get it On" for his 2014 hit "Thinking Out Loud"

13H ago

Book excerpt: Michael Caine's "Blowing the Bloody Doors Off: And Other Lessons in Life"

In his new memoir the actor discusses life lessons, including how to "use the difficulty" when facing obstacles

15H ago

Ellen reveals she called Academy in bid to re-hire Kevin Hart as Oscars host

Kevin Hart stepped down last month, after facing criticism over homophobic tweets from several years ago that resurfaced online

15H ago

L.A. sues Weather Channel over app users’ data

The Weather Channel app may be sharing your location data with advertisers without your consent, according to a lawsuit by the Los Angeles city attorney

5H ago

Ambitious effort to clean up Great Pacific Garbage Patch faces major setback

Inventor Boyan Slat wants to clean up more than 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic in the water between California and Hawaii

Jan 3

Apple's "darkest day" raises doubts about iPhone's future

Waning demand for the tech giant's flagship product has some analysts asking where the company goes from here

Jan 3

First meteor shower of 2019 peaks Thursday

It's the first meteor shower of 2019 – and it's not the only astronomical phenomenon taking place this month

Jan 3

Chinese spacecraft landed on the far side of the moon

The unmanned spacecraft, the Chang'e 4, touched down at 10:26 a.m., China Central Television said in a brief announcement

Jan 3

Do sugar-free sweeteners really help you lose weight?

Researchers reviewed more than 50 studies and found little evidence of any health benefits

Jan 3

"Sicker, Fatter, Poorer": The cost of hormone-disrupting chemicals

"We found that these exposures cost the United States $340 billion a year. That's 2.3 percent of our gross domestic product," says Dr. Leonardo Trasande

Jan 3

Sunflower butter recalled after customer finds listeria

Oskri Organics said it was informed by a customer that they "randomly" sent its product in for testing

Jan 3

The best overall diets for 2019

If getting healthy is one of your New Year's resolutions, check out this ranking of the top overall diets for 2019

Jan 2

Big Pharma raises prices of more than 1,000 drugs

Consumers may have to pay more for a range of medications in 2019 as drugmakers boost their costs

Jan 2

Ethics group wants Ivanka Trump investigated for tax break program

The complaint comes after Trump and her husband Jared Kushner promoted a tax break that could benefit themselves

6H ago

Lowe's plans to hire 65,000 workers this year

Home-improvement chain says most of the jobs will be seasonal, but also include thousands of permanent roles

7H ago

Shutdown causing chaos at IRS — and may delay tax refunds

Taxpayers are still required to file, but IRS won't issue refunds while the agency remains on ice

3H ago

More than 5 million passports exposed in massive Marriott hack

Hotel chain now estimates that 383 million guest accounts were breached, one of the biggest hacks on record

9H ago

Ford recalls nearly 1 million vehicles over exploding air bags

It's part of the biggest series of recalls in U.S. history, spurred by air bags that can explode and hurl shrapnel

6H ago

Ex-deputies charged in deaths of women who drowned in transport van

Authorities said the deputies were driving the women to a mental-health facility under a court order when their van was swept away by rising floodwaters

updated 18M ago

Teacher accused of feeding puppy to turtle found not guilty

Robert Crosland​ told an investigator "I honestly thought I was doing the right thing by putting it out of its misery"

1H ago

Push for bias training in Cincinnati after officers used racial slurs

"We need to set a clear moral tone as to what's right and wrong, and using the N-word is wrong," Cincinatti mayor says

6H ago

Former protégé testifies against "El Chapo"

Vicente Zambada is the son of El Chapo's partner, Ismael "El Mayo" Zambada

9H ago

Police ID woman accused of killing manicurist over $35

Las Vegas woman was being sought for allegedly using a stolen car to run over and kill a Las Vegas nail salon owner

7H ago  Original Article