"Turn Around. Don't Drown." That is a phrase used by transportation department around the country to remind people of the dangers of driving through a flooded roadway. Unfortunately, those wise words of warning may have been completely ignored by two Horry County Sheriff's deputies — costing two innocent women their lives.
Deputies Joshua Bishop and Stephen Flood were transporting two mental health patients, Windy Newton, 45, and Nicolette Green, 43, to new facilities in another area of the state. The two deputies were in the front compartment of the transport van, while the patients were held in a different compartment in the back. Then tragedy struck. The group was traveling down a section of highway in Marion County when they were overtaken by water, submerging the vehicle.
The two deputies, Bishop and Flood, were able to extract themselves from the front cabin but their attempts to rescue Windy and Nicolette from the back failed various times. By the time first responders arrived on the scene, the van was completely under water and the women had drowned. Bishop and Flood were found on the top of the vehicle.
In a press conference Sheriff Phillip Thompson seemed to suggest that the road the deputies had chosen had been blocked off in both directions. If that's the case why did the deputies drive around a road barrier, when they knew the dangers of being overtaken by flood waters, especially when they had two people in their care?
Now, two women, who had voluntarily committed themselves to get the help they need, have perished because of the possible negligence of these two officers. Not much is known yet about Newton but according to her own accounts on Facebook, she had struggled with mental health issues in the past. Nicolette Green's sister posted that Green had had depression for 20 years and leaves behind three children.
These women put their trust in the hands of the government and the government failed them. If these deputies did indeed ignore barriers and warnings, they must be held accountable for the sake of the Green and Newton families.
Please sign the petition and demand an investigation and urge South Carolina to hold deputies Bishop and Flood are held accountable for their actions.