COLUMBIA, S.C. — Two South Carolina law officers were charged Friday in the deaths of two women who drowned while locked in the back of a sheriff’s department van during Hurricane Florence.
Stephen Flood is charged with two counts each of reckless homicide and involuntary manslaughter, according to online court records. Joshua Bishop faces two counts of involuntary manslaughter.
A judge set bond at $30,000 for Flood and $10,000 for Bishop and both were released after posting bail.
Flood, 66, and Bishop, 29, were fired from the Horry County Sheriff’s Office in October as part of an internal investigation. Authorities said the deputies were driving 45-year-old Wendy Newton and 43-year-old Nicolette Green through Marion County to a mental-health facility under a court order when their van was swept away by rising floodwaters as Hurricane Florence inundated the state.
According to records from the state Criminal Justice Academy, Flood made a “conscious decision” to drive around a barricade near the Little Pee Dee River, and Bishop didn’t try to stop him.
The powerful tropical system smashed into the Southeast coast as a hurricane Sept. 14, triggering severe flooding as it weakened yet nearly stalled over the Carolinas for days.
Green and Newton drowned in the back of the locked van on Sept. 18.
The families of both women tearfully addressed the judge Friday. Rose Hershberger, Green’s oldest daughter and a high school senior, mourned her mother missing milestones like her graduation.
“Every night is just a constant lack of sleep,” Hershberger said. “All I see is my mother, and I hear her screams and her cries.”