Consultants sued over 2018 deaths of women in sheriff’s van

Sep 20, 2021, 6:41 PM | Updated: 6:54 pm
FILE - In this Sept. 19, 2018, file photo, responders congregate near where two people drowned the ...

FILE - In this Sept. 19, 2018, file photo, responders congregate near where two people drowned the evening before when they were locked in a Horry County Sheriff's department transport van while crossing an overtopped bridge over the Little Pee Dee River on Highway 76, during rising floodwaters in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence in Marion County, S.C. The estates of the South Carolina women who drowned filed lawsuits last week in Horry County alleging negligence by a company that created policies and procedures for the law enforcement agency. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File)

The estates of two South Carolina women who drowned while locked in the back of a sheriff’s department van during Hurricane Florence have filed lawsuits alleging negligence by a company that created policies and procedures for the law enforcement agency.

The lawsuits were filed last week in Horry County by representatives of 43-year-old Nicolette Green and 45-year-old Wendy Newton against Moseley Architects, which consults with law enforcement agencies and develops policies and procedures.

Two deputies were driving the women to a mental-health facility under a court order in September 2018 when their van was swept away by rising floodwaters as Hurricane Florence inundated South Carolina.

Many roads in the northeastern part of the state were flooded out and blocked off in the days following the powerful storm, which smashed into the Southeast coast Sept. 14 and triggered severe flooding as it stalled over the Carolinas for days.

On Sept. 18, the deputies, in a marked sheriff’s department vehicle, were waved through a barricade near the Little Pee Dee River by National Guardsmen charged with keeping motorists out of the area, according to authorities. As waters swirled around the van, the two deputies were unable to free the women, who were locked in a compartment in the back, officials said.

Rescue crews needed about 45 minutes to find the van, which was underwater at that point, and plucked the Horry County deputies from the roof, authorities said.

According to the lawsuits, the deputies were “acting in accordance with the policies and procedures created by” the consulting firm on the night the women were swept away. Their deaths were the culmination of a series of failures, such as the deputies not being able to provide their location to first responders, or maintain “the equipment, training, practice, procedure, and protocol to complete a safe transport,” according to the suits.

Specifically, the department “lacked any policy related to mental health patients and their transport” and “maintained insufficient policies, procedures, and training for routine law enforcement function,” the lawsuits read.

Representatives for Moseley did not immediately return an email message seeking comment Monday.

Fired from the Horry County Sheriff’s Office a month after the deaths as part of an internal investigation, the two officers driving the women also face criminal charges, including reckless homicide and involuntary manslaughter. Their trial is expected later this year.


Meg Kinnard can be reached at

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Associated Press

US religious group says 17 missionaries kidnapped in Haiti

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — A group of 17 U.S. missionaries including children was kidnapped by a gang in Haiti on Saturday, according to a voice message sent to various religious missions by an organization with direct knowledge of the incident. The missionaries were on their way home from building an orphanage, according to […]
1 day ago
Associated Press

Today in History

Today in History Today is Sunday, Oct. 17, the 290th day of 2021. There are 75 days left in the year. Today’s Highlight in History: On Oct. 17, 1777, British forces under Gen. John Burgoyne surrendered to American troops in Saratoga, New York, in a turning point of the Revolutionary War. On this date: In […]
1 day ago
FILE - In this Thursday, Oct 7, 2021 file photo, Workers in protective suits clean the contaminated...
Associated Press

Ship owner, operator of interest in California oil spill

HUNTINGTON BEACH, Calif. (AP) — The U.S. Coast Guard has designated the Mediterranean Shipping Company and others as parties of interest in an investigation into a vessel that was determined to be the source of an offshore pipeline leak in Southern California. Coast Guard and National Transportation Safety Board marine casualty investigators boarded a container […]
1 day ago
FILE - In this Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021 file photo, Afghans inspect damage of Ahmadi family house afte...
Associated Press

US vows to pay relatives of Afghans killed in drone strike

The U.S. Defense Department said Friday that it is committed to offering condolence payments to relatives of the 10 people who were killed in an errant U.S. drone strike in Kabul, Afghanistan, in August.
1 day ago
In this photo taken from video footage released by Roscosmos Space Agency, actress Yulia Peresild s...
Associated Press

Russian filmmakers land after shoot aboard space station

MOSCOW (AP) — A Soyuz space capsule carrying a cosmonaut and two Russian filmmakers has landed after a 3 1/2-hour trip from the International Space Station. The capsule, descending under a red-and-white striped parachute after entering Earth’s atmosphere, landed upright in the steppes of Kazakhstan on schedule at 0435 GMT Sunday with Oleg Novitskiy, Yulia […]
1 day ago
FILE - In this June 10, 2020 file photo, cattle occupy a feedlot in Columbus, Neb. Frustrated with ...
Associated Press

Unhappy with prices, ranchers look to build own meat plants

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Like other ranchers across the country, Rusty Kemp for years grumbled about rock-bottom prices paid for the cattle he raised in central Nebraska, even as the cost of beef at grocery stores kept climbing. He and his neighbors blamed it on consolidation in the beef industry stretching back to the […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

PNC Bank

3 cool tips to turn everyday moments into learning experiences for your child

Early brain development has a crucial impact on a child’s ability to learn and succeed in school and life. Research has shown that 90% of a child’s brain is developed by age five.

Grill like a pro this fall with tips from Albertsons

As the weather cools and football season kicks off, it’s a great time to fire up the grill and enjoy your favorite outdoor meals.
Day & Night Air

Tips to lower your energy bill in the Arizona heat

Does your summer electric bill make you groan? Are you looking for effective ways to reduce your bill?
Consultants sued over 2018 deaths of women in sheriff’s van