HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – Photos obtained by WMBF News show the Horry County Sheriff’s Office van that was used to transport two mental health patients in September.
Authorities said the two patients - Nicolette Green and Wendy Newton - drowned in the back of the van after former HCSO deputy Stephen Flood drove the van around a barricade and into floodwaters in Marion County.
Flood and the other deputy with him, Joshua Bishop, have since been fired from the HCSO.
The two women were being transported from one mental health facility to another. The photos show where they sat as they drowned.
One photo shows Green’s hat laying on the floor of the van. Another shows a large hole in the vehicle’s roof.
Solicitor Ed Clements said he is meeting with SLED agents Friday. From there, he is supposed to decide whether any criminal charges will be filed sometime in the future.
One man who wanted to remain anonymous due to fear of backlash shared his experience of being transported in an HCSO van with WMBF News.
He says he was diagnosed with PTSD, and he admitted himself to a mental health hospital in August.
He says shortly after arriving to the hospital, he was told he needed to be transported to a different facility.
He says he was transported to that facility in an HCSO van. He described the experience as a “nightmare.”
“I slid around.," he said. “Banged around. Banged my head. Even with the seatbelt on. The ceiling’s low. The walls are confined. It was like being in a dog cage. It was just unbelievable.”
The man said he wanted to come forward to share his experience to shed light on how mental health patients are treated in South Carolina. He felt compelled to do so after hearing about Green and Newton’s story.
He says to this day it is still a mystery as to why he needed to be transported from one facility to another. He thinks patients should be made aware of the reason for transports.
But change could be coming soon.
Last week, a South Carolina Senate subcommittee that was appointed to investigate the deaths of Green and Newton met for the first time.
The Corrections and Penology Special Subcommittee on Mental Health Initiatives was also tasked with proposing new legislation that would change the way mental health patients are treated and transported in South Carolina.