Correctional officers charged in drowning deaths post bond
MARION COUNTY, S.C. (WPDE) —
The two Horry County Sheriff’s Office correctional officers who drove into flood waters after Hurricane Florence with two women in their transport van were served warrants and made their initial court appearances Friday.
Stephen Flood and Joshua Bishop turned themselves in to the Marion County Sheriff’s Office about 7:30 a.m. Friday.
They arrived separately with their families, and deputies escorted them into the Sheriff’s Office.
Flood is charged with two counts of reckless homicide and two counts of involuntary manslaughter, while Bishop is charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter.
The reckless homicide charges carry a prison sentence of zero to 10 years and the involuntary manslaughter charges carry a prison sentence of zero to five years.
In their initial court appearance Friday morning, bond was granted for both men. Flood's bond was set at $30,000, while Bishop received a $10,000 bond. Both men have posted their bonds and have been released from jail.
Wendy Newton, 45, of Shallotte, N.C., and Nicolette Green, 43, of Myrtle Beach, were in the back of the van when Flood and Bishop drove around a barricade and into flood waters in Marion County on Sept. 18.
Flood and Bishop were fired from the Horry County Sheriff's Office. Termination papers state they were fired for "wanton disregard for the safety of persons."
An affidavit with the warrants for Bishop state that he and Flood were told about a safe route and that the route through Nichols was not passable. However, Flood and Bishop did not take the safe route, according to the affidavit.
After passing through a manned barricade outside of Nichols, they proceeded through and out of town heading towards Mullins on Highway 76. They drove into flood waters that were covering the roadway. As the waters deepened, they continued until the van stalled out and was swept across a roadway and up against a guardrail by floodwater flowing across the road, according to the affidavit.
The road under them washed away and the van sank into a large hole formed by the washout, according to the affidavit.
Bishop was able to get out of the van right away. Flood was not able to get out right away. The two women were unrestrained in the back of the van, but were not able to get out.
Bishop attempted to rescue the women, but was unsuccessful. Bishop did rescue Flood from the van and were later rescued by boat.
The two women drowned as the water level rose and filled the inside of the van.
ABC 15’s Tonya Brown was in the court hearing and will have more on this story tonight at 5, 6, 7 and 11.