‘So devastating:’ Family of woman who drowned in HCSO transport van visits site where she died

Family of mental health patient who drowned visit site where she died

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Five months after two families unexpectedly lost a daughter, a sister and a mother one of those families visited the site of her death and stood over the body of water where she died.

On September 18, 2018, Nicolette Green and Wendy Newton were being transported in a Horry County Sherriff’s Office van when Corrections Officers Stephen Flood and Joshua Bishop are said to have driven around two flood barriers into flood waters from Hurricane Florence.

“So awful. So chilling. So devastating," Linda Green, Nicolette’s mother said. "There are no words to describe it, Casey.”

“Nikki was such a sweet, peaceful, loving person,” Nicolette’s father said.

The two deputies were able to escape the vehicle, the women were not.

“This is the first time we’ve been right here,” Donnela Green-Johnson, Nicolette Green’s sister said. “I’m just trying to think of how scared.. oh I would have been so scared. And I would be thinking about my kids.”

They drowned inside the van as it was submerged underwater in the Little Pee Dee River.

"As an old marine I wouldn't have left them, I would have died to try to get them out but I wouldn't have left them," Nicolette Green's father said. "You never leave anybody."

Horry County Sheriff Phillip Thompson did say the two deputies tried to get the women out but were unable to. Now, five months later Green's family believes the two deputies heard Green and Newton's last words and they want to know what they were.

“I hope in court we hear those because you know they heard them," Green-Johnson said. "I want to know what their last words were. I think Nikki’s Children deserve to know what their mother was thinking of because I know that’s what she was thinking of, she was thinking of her kids.”

The incident has state lawmakers taking action. State Senator Marlon Kimpson filed a bill last month that would change the way mental health patients are transported. Green's family says that comforts them and their faith is what's holding them together.

"It's the only thing that kinda keeps me going is our faith knowing that she is with Jesus," Green's mother said.

Green's family is hoping the bill will be passed by South Carolina lawmakers in honor of the two women.. forever changing the way mental health patients are treated during transport to another facility.

Flood and Bishop will face a judge Tuesday morning for their next court date. At their bond hearing last month, they posted bail a couple hours after that hearing.

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