Trial begins for former Horry County deputy accused in transport van drownings

Published: May. 16, 2022 at 11:18 AM EDT|Updated: May. 16, 2022 at 6:11 PM EDT
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MARION COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) – It’s been nearly three years since two mental health patients drowned in the back of a prison transport van after it went through Hurricane Florence floodwaters.

On Monday, the trial of Stephen Flood, one of the two former Horry County deputies accused of causing their deaths, began with jury selection at the Marion County Courthouse.

Flood is charged with the deaths of Nicolette Green and Wendy Newton. Joshua Bishop is also charged in the case, but he will be tried separately at a later date.

Just before 12:30 p.m., it was announced that a jury had been selected for the case. Opening arguments got underway around 2:30 p.m. and then moved to the first witnesses of the day.

The former deputies were transporting Green and Newton to behavioral health centers in Darlington and Lancaster in a prison transport van in September 2018, when it was swept away by floodwaters in Marion County.

Flood and Bishop were able to escape the van, but officials said Green and Newton were locked inside, and could not escape.

Nicolette Green (left) and Wendy Newton passed away in an HCSO van in September 2018.
Nicolette Green (left) and Wendy Newton passed away in an HCSO van in September 2018.(Source: Green and Newton families)

Sgt. Elizabeth Orlando, the supervisor of transportation for the Horry County Sheriff’s Office, took the stand on Monday afternoon. She described how she and other members of the sheriff’s office met to discuss which route to take. She said that normally deputies choose their own routes to take but due to Hurricane Florence flooding, routes were discussed with supervisors. She added that during the meeting Flood didn’t make any comments.

Cpl. Christopher Maxim and LCpl. Russell Herring also took the stand Monday. Their testimony was similar to Orlando’s.

Flood and Bishop were later fired from the Horry County Sheriff’s Office.

Flood is charged with two counts of reckless homicide and two counts of involuntary manslaughter, while Bishop is charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter.


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