$1M settlement after 2 patients drowned in transport van

CONWAY, S.C. (AP) — A manufacturer of cages for inmate transport vans has agreed to pay $1 million to the family of a South Carolina mental health patient who drowned during 2018’s Hurricane Florence while trapped inside a sheriff’s department van outfitted by the company.

A court on Monday approved the agreement between American Aluminum Accessories and Linda Green, the mother of drowning victim Nicolette Green, according to WBTW-TV.

Deputies were driving Green, 43, and Wendy Newton, 45, 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.

Green and Newton were locked inside a cage in the back of the van and both women drowned.

Deputies Stephen Flood and Joshua Bishop were later charged with reckless homicide and involuntary manslaughter in their deaths and fired from the Horry County Sheriff’s Office. The case is still pending, according to online court records.

Both Flood and Bishop have said they tried unsuccessfully to rescue the women. According to testimony heard by state lawmakers, the van took an unsafe route and rolled over, and the deputies lacked a key or bolt cutters to free the women from the vehicle.

Linda Green has also sued county officials over her daughter’s death.

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