AP

Charges dropped against deputy after 2 died in flooded van

Nov 19, 2022, 8:57 PM | Updated: Nov 20, 2022, 11:45 am

FILE - Responders congregate near where two people drowned when they were trapped in a Horry County...

FILE - Responders congregate near where two people drowned when they were trapped in a Horry County Sheriff's transport van while crossing an overtopped bridge over the Little Pee Dee River on Highway 76, during rising floodwaters in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence on Sept. 19, 2018, in Marion County, S.C. Criminal charges in the drowning deaths of two women in the locked van who were seeking mental help have been dropped against the deputy who was riding along with the convicted officer who drove the vehicle into floodwaters. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

MARION, S.C. (AP) — Criminal charges have been dropped against a former deputy who was helping to transport two mental health patients who drowned while locked in the back of a van that was driven into floodwaters caused by 2018’s Hurricane Florence in South Carolina.

The van’s driver, former Horry County Deputy Stephen Flood, was convicted in May of two counts of reckless homicide and is serving nine years in prison. But authorities decided to drop involuntary manslaughter charges against former Horry County Deputy Joshua Bishop, who was riding along and didn’t realize until it was too late that Flood was risking their lives, Solicitor Ed Clements told news outlets last week.

Clements said Bishop did everything he could to rescue the women. He said Flood’s trial helped clear up Bishop’s role in the September 2018 deaths of Wendy Newton, 45, and Nicolette Green, 43. The two women had been involuntarily committed for mental health care and were being transferred for treatment outside Horry County.

While judges agreed to the commitment orders for Newton and Green, their families said they were not violent. Newton was only seeking medicine for her fear and anxiety and Green’s family said she was committed to a mental facility at a regular mental health appointment by a counselor she had never seen before.

The floodwaters swept the police van off its wheels and pinned it against a guardrail, preventing the women from being able to get out the sliding door they used to enter the van. Flood and Bishop did not have a key to a second door and there was no emergency escape hatch, according to testimony at Flood’s trial.

The deputies said they spoke to the women and tried to keep them calm for about an hour as the water kept rising before it got too dangerous and rescuers could no longer hear them.

Bishop testified he tried to shoot the locks off the second door, but it still would not open. The delay in getting help was costly too. A firefighter testified they were able to cut the roof off the van and started working on the cage, but the water got higher and faster and it was too dangerous to continue.

Flood told investigators he was trying to find the shortest and quickest route to the treatment centers and if the road was too dangerous, he thought National Guard troops at barricades closing the highway leading to the bridge would have told him to stop.

Prosecutors said Flood should not have been stubborn and turned around when he started driving through water covering the highway.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

moore redmond washington...

Associated Press

U.S. Supreme Court rules against Redmond couple challenging foreign income tax

The court ruled in the case of Charles and Kathleen Moore, of Redmond, Washington after they previously challenged a $15,000 tax bill.

1 day ago

Image:The New York Giants' Willie Mays poses for a photo during baseball spring training in 1972. M...

Associated Press

Willie Mays, Giants’ electrifying ‘Say Hey Kid,’ dies at 93

Willie Mays, whose singular combination of talent, drive and exuberance made him one of baseball’s greatest players, has died. He was 93.

3 days ago

Image: This photo provided by the Washington Department of Ecology shows a derailed BNSF train on t...

Associated Press

Judge orders BNSF to pay Washington tribe nearly $400M for trespassing with oil trains

BNSF Railway must pay the sum to a Native American tribe in Washington after it ran 100-car trains with crude oil on the tribe's reservation.

4 days ago

Photo: In this photo provided by Tieanna Joseph Cade, an amusement park ride is shown stuck with 30...

Associated Press

Crews rescue 28 people trapped upside down high on Oregon amusement park ride

Emergency crews in Oregon rescued 28 people after they were stuck dangling upside down high on a ride at a century-old amusement park.

4 days ago

juneteenth shooting texas...

Associated Press

2 killed and 6 wounded in shooting during a Juneteenth celebration in a Texas park

A shooting in a Texas park left two people dead and six wounded, including two children, on Saturday, authorities said.

5 days ago

Photo: Israeli soldiers drive a tank near the Israeli-Gaza border, in southern Israel, Wednesday, J...

Jack Jeffery, The Associated Press

8 Israeli soldiers killed in southern Gaza in deadliest attack on Israeli forces in months

An explosion in Gaza killed eight Israeli soldiers, the military said Saturday, making it the deadliest attack on Israeli forces in months.

6 days ago

Charges dropped against deputy after 2 died in flooded van