COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP/WCBD) — A prosecutor says a deputy in South Carolina charged in the deaths of two women who drowned in a locked police van in 2018 ignored barricades and drove into rapidly rising floodwaters against advice from his supervisors.

Former Horry County deputy Stephen Flood is on trial on two counts of involuntary manslaughter and reckless homicide for the drownings.

He was taking the women to mental health facilities under a court order as rain from Hurricane Florence inundated eastern South Carolina.

Flood’s lawyer on Monday said his client is a scapegoat for supervisors who wanted him to take the shortest route and officials who let him drive around a barricade.

Nicolette French, also known as Nicolette Green, was being taken to an appointment for mental health services when she and Wendy Newton died after the van was swept away by Hurricane Florence floodwaters.

A grand jury in May 2019 indicted two former Horry County Sheriff’s Office corrections officers, including both Flood and Joshua Bishop, in the 2018 van drowning case