Two Female Mental Health Patients Drowned While Chained in a Police Van As Cops Get Saved

in news •  7 months ago

 Horry County, SC — Two women, who were mental health patients  under the care of Horry County, have tragically been killed while in  police custody as they were being moved to a different facility on  Tuesday. They were chained in the back of a police van and drowned after  the van drove into flood waters. While original reports claimed that the women were inmates, it was  later clarified that they were actually patients—which raises the  question of why they were in chains in the back of the van. 

According to the report, two deputies with the Horry County Sheriff’s  department were transporting the two women to a different facility in  South Carolina late Tuesday when the van entered floodwaters and was  quickly overtaken. Deputy Sheriff Tom Fox explained that the victims  were being taken from Loris Hospital and Waccamaw Center for Mental  Health to McLeod Health. They would tragically never make it to their destination. The women, identified on Wednesday as Wendy Wenton, of Shallotte and  Nicolette Green, of Myrtle Beach, remained locked in the back of the van  as the rescue team saved the two officers. 

As ABC 4 News reported,  the pair of Horry County Sheriff’s deputies who were in the van tried  to extricate the patients, but, due to rapidly rising floodwaters, were  unable to open the van’s doors to reach the shackled women, according to  a statement from County Sheriff Phillip Thompson. 

Rescue teams  responded in time to save the deputies. The coroner in neighboring Marion County confirmed the two deceased  patients were female, and the South Carolina State Law Enforcement  Division is investigating the incident, according to the statement. Police are now investigating the deputies involved in the incident. The Horry County Sheriff’s Office released the following statement Tuesday night: 

A Horry County Sheriff’s Office transportation vehicle  was involved in a high-water incident tonight. The vehicle, staffed by  two Horry County Sheriff’s Office deputies, was transporting two  detainees from Conway to Darlington. The vehicle was traveling west on  Highway 76 around ½ mile from the Little Pee Dee River when the vehicle  was overtaken by flood waters. The two deputies attempted to extricate the persons being  transported. Despite persistent and ongoing efforts, floodwater rose  rapidly and the deputies were unable to open the doors to reach the  individuals inside the van. High water rescue teams arrived and were  able to rescue the two deputies from the top of the van. At this time,  the recovery effort is ongoing, and the transportation vehicle cannot be  removed due to rising waters and dangerous conditions. The two individuals being transported were confirmed dead by the  Marion County Coroner. This incident is being investigated by the State  Law Enforcement Division (SLED).

“Tonight’s incident is a tragedy,” Thompson said in the statement.  “Just like you, we have questions we want answered. We are fully  cooperating with the State Law Enforcement Division to support their  investigation of this event.” Indeed, spending your last moments alive while chained in the back of  a police van, gasping for air that will never come, is most certainly a  tragedy. 

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