COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — A deputy in South Carolina whose police van was swept away by floodwaters in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence, drowning two women seeking mental health treatment trapped in a cage in the back has been sentenced to 18 years in prison.

A Marion County jury found former Horry County deputy Stephen Flood guilty of two counts of involuntary manslaughter and two counts of reckless homicide.

Forty-five-year-old Wendy Newton and 43-year-old Nicolette Green had been involuntarily committed for mental help, but weren’t dangerous.

This photo provided by the Marion County (S.C.) Jail shows Stephen Flood. A Marion County jury found former Horry County deputy Stephen Flood guilty of two counts of involuntary manslaughter and two counts of reckless homicide, Thursday, May 19, 2022. Flood, 69, was sentenced about 30 minutes after the verdict and after several relatives of the women said his decision to press forward with the shortest route left an impossible-to-fix hole in their lives.(Marion County Jail via AP)

Prosecutors say Flood was reckless by driving the van into floodwaters in September 2018 with the helpless women in the back.

The van was pinned against a guardrail where Flood and a second deputy could not get them out.