Two South Carolina sheriff's deputies have been fired as investigations into the deaths of two mental health patients continues. Last month, the patients drowned while in the care of the deputies, when the transport van they were traveling in was overtaken by floodwaters from Hurricane Florence.
What are the details?
Horry County Sheriff deputies Stephen Flood and Joshua Bishop were transporting the patients from hospitals near the coast to a behavioral facility further inland on Sept. 18., when the vehicle they were in became stranded as they tried to cross a flooded highway.
Rising water inundated the van, and the two deputies climbed onto the roof of the vehicle after reportedly attempting to free their passengers "for a long period of time." The patients, Wendy Newton and Nicolette Green, drowned while trapped in the back of the van.
NBC News reported that Bishop and Flood were rescued and the bodies of Newton and Green were recovered by divers the following day.
Bishop and Flood were placed on administrative leave immediately following the incident while the Sheriff's Office launched an internal investigation and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division began its own inquiry.
On Wednesday, the Horry County Sheriff's Office announced that the deputies had been terminated "as the result" of the internal probe, and both investigations are ongoing.
Flood had been with the department for a decade, and Bishop had been on the force for six years.
During a news conference following the deaths of the patients, Horry County Sheriff Phillip Thompson explained that a probate court had ordered the women to be transferred, but couldn't say whether the deputies had the authority to postpone the trip due to hazardous road conditions. Thompson said a National Guardsman allowed the deputies to drive around a barricade before they ended up in the floodwaters.
Nicolette Green's sister, Donnela Green-Johnson, reacted to the news of the deputies being fired, telling WMBF-TV, "First step towards justice. We are very happy. It is the first formal acknowledgement of any wrongdoing by anyone in the county. Even if it's just the admittance of violations in policy which require the termination ... it's a beginning."