COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - The families of two women who drowned while being transported by law enforcement during Hurricane Florence met with lawmakers on Thursday.
Nicolette Green and Wendy Newton died in Marion County after the Horry County Sheriff’s Office van they were being transported in was washed away by flood waters.
The Senate subcommittee responsible for investigating their deaths will also be proposing legislation to change the way mental health patients are treated and transported in the state of South Carolina.
“They never reached their destination and the families and public deserve to know why,” Senator Marlon Kimpson, the chairman of the subcommittee said.
Everyone agrees, after two hours of testimony from loved ones, an attorney, and SLED chief, that something needs to change.
“We need to get rid of the stigma that anyone who is seeking help is somehow violent or a criminal because that’s not true,” Donnela Green-Johnson, Nicolette’s sister said.
Green’s family says they were not notified they could transport her instead of law enforcement.
Her nephew says this should have never happened.
“They weren’t violent so what was the whole point of putting them in a cage?” he asked.
Lawmakers say they will continue to investigate the deaths and also propose legislation to make sure this doesn’t happen again.
“We must take these deaths seriously and let that spur us to action for what needs to be done,” Kimpson says.
The subcommittee is planning on meeting again before the legislative session begins. They want to make sure they have something drafted up by then.
SLED says they are still investigating the case.