Family of woman who drowned in HCSO van starts new holiday tradition

Nicolette Green’s family says this is something they never expected they’d have to do over the holidays
Nicolette Green's family starts new holiday tradition laying flowers at the site she and Wendy...
Nicolette Green's family starts new holiday tradition laying flowers at the site she and Wendy Newton took their last breath
Updated: Dec. 22, 2019 at 11:03 AM EST
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MARION COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - It’s been over a year since two mental health patients, Nicolette Green and Wendy Newton, drowned in flood waters while being transported by an Horry County Sheriff’s Office van.

Saturday, a new holiday tradition was created, something Green’s family said they never expected they’d have to do.

It’s been almost six months since Green’s family visited the site both she and Newton took their last breath. They honor her life with some of her favorite colors - a red bell and pink flowers.

“We haven’t forgotten you Nik," Donnela Green-Johnson, Nicolette Green’s sister, said. "And we’re still trying, we’re still fighting to get change.”

Many questions remain over a year after Green and Newton lost their lives that mid-September day.

“What was she saying to Wendy? What was Wendy saying to her?," Linda Green, Nicolette Green’s mother, said. "What were they saying, if anything, to the deputy like ‘What are we doing on this flooded road?’ ‘What happened to turn around don’t drown?’”

Green and Newton passed away in flood waters from Hurricane Florence after officials say ex-deputy Stephen Flood drove around a flood barrier and into flood waters.

Ex-deputy Joshua Bishop was also in the van.

Now, the Green family is celebrating the holidays without Nicolette again this year, following a recent passing this year of her father, Dr. Don Green.

“The two of us will never be the same," Linda Green said. "We just can’t and when I think of the first thing in the morning when my eyes open is how Nikki died .”

Both her mom and sister are creating new traditions, by making sure Nicolette’s legacy lives on, especially with her 7-year-old son she left behind.

“A new tradition is we made little ornaments - of a picture of him and his mom - so that’s going to be a new tradition,” Donnela Green-Johnson said.

The family recently filed a civil lawsuit and plans to continue fighting for justice for both Nicolette and Wendy.

“Everything we’re doing is trying to exact change, and the responsible parties and responsible entities need to be held accountable,” Green-Johnson said.

Nicolette’s birthday would have been two days after Christmas and her family is heading to Pennsylvania where she is buried. They plan to eat her favorite cake - red velvet - by her and her father’s grave.

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