Although Hurricane/Tropical Storm Florence has come and gone, authorities caution that hazards related to the storm persist and deaths are still occurring.
The latest and most controversial fatalities occurred on Tuesday, when a sheriff’s van became submerged in floodwaters and the two people being transported in it – mental health patients – drowned. News sources say the two deputies who were in the van at the time it was swept off the road were able to escape. An investigation is underway to determine if the deputies had gone around barriers that were blocking the road due to flooding.
Of a total of 41 Florence-related deaths, 31 occurred in North Carolina, nine in South Carolina and one in Virginia. Two people died after breathing in carbon monoxide from a generator that was running in their home, which lacked power at the time.
It is noteworthy that four of the eight fatalities in South Carolina involved traffic accidents. In one, a woman was killed when her vehicle struck a tree that had been downed by the storm. In another, a driver lost control of his truck when it hit standing water. The truck flipped and landed in a ditch; one of its passengers was drowned.
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper called the destruction in the eastern part of his state, “historic."
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