Jan. 4 (UPI) -- Two deputy correctional officers will be charged Friday after two female mental health patients drowned in their transport van while being driven into floodwaters after Hurricane Florence struck South Carolina.
Twelfth Circuit Solicitor Ed Clements said that Stephen Flood will be charged with two counts of reckless homicide and two counts of involuntary manslaughter, and Joshua Bishop will be charged with two counts of involuntary manslaughter, WPDE-TV reported.
A bond hearing has been set for 9 a.m. at the Marion County Detention Center.
On Sept. 18, Wendy Newton, 45, and Nicolette Green, 43, were in the back of the van when Flood and Bishop drove around a barricade and into floodwaters while traveling from a hospital in Horry County to medical facilities in Florence and Darlington.
Flood and Bishop were fired for "wanton disregard for the safety of persons," Horry County Sheriff's Office termination letters said.
Officials said Flood made a "conscious decision" to drive the transport van into floodwaters, and Bishop "failed to make a conscious and conspicuous effort" to stop Flood from driving into the waters.
If convicted, they face a prison sentence of up to 10 years for reckless homicide and five years for involuntary manslaughter.
"We're looking at it as a step in the right direction," Donnela Green-Johnson, Green's sister, told WMBF-TV. "I wish that there would be stronger charges available, but there aren't in the state."