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Who's to blame? Attorneys discuss newly released photos in Horry County transport van case

(Courtesy: TheSun News)

New photos released by DNR to our media partners The Sun News, show the moments first responders recovered the bodies of two mental health patients who drowned in the back of an Horry County Sheriff's Office transport van.

In the days following Hurricane Florence, Wendy Newton, 45, of Shallotte, N.C., and Nicolette Green, 43, of Myrtle Beach, S.C., were in the back of the van when former correctional officers Stephen Flood and Joshua Bishop drove on a flooded road. Flood was driving at the time.

Flood is charged with two counts of reckless homicide and two counts of involuntary manslaughter. Bishop is charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter.

Related: Correctional officers charged in drowning deaths post bond

ABC15's Sydney Glenn sat down with Attorney Bert von Herrmann, who is representing Bishop, and Tommy Brittain, whose law firm is representing Wendy Newton’s family, to discuss the photos.

“These are emotional photographs, no question about it. But what’s left out is Josh Bishop saving the life of his partner. His partner was penned against the rail and he was ultimately able to take him out of the passenger side and the fact that Josh Bishop entered the back of the van and was able to take off several of the locks and was unable to get the young ladies out of the back of the van," von Herrmann said holding tight to his client's innocence.

“These sorts of images bring overwhelming grief to any human and then when you add that it’s a loved one, these are almost unbearable," Brittain said.

It's an emotional case that has rocked our community and both Brittain and von Herrmann agree on that.

“I think this case is probably more serious, more tragic than anything I’ve ever dealt with," Brittain said, who has been practicing law for more than 40 years.

Who's to blame remains at the center of the tragedy. Von Herrmann said one person he knows isn't at fault is Bishop.

“At this point in the investigation I don’t know that there is anybody to blame. I know that some bad decisions were made. Who made those decisions? What policies were not followed? What policies were not taken into account? That I don’t know," he said.

Accountability has to reach beyond just the former officers, Brittain said. Policies need to be looked at and things need to be implemented so this never happens again.

“We owe it those two women that suffered this long horror to make permanent changes.”

Both Bishop and Flood are out on bond.

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