State emergency officials say the death toll since heavy flooding began this weekend has now increased to 14 deaths, after Richland County crews found two more bodies when floodwaters receded Tuesday.
The Richland County Coroner’s Office said the body of 82-year-old Richard Millroy was found in his vehicle just west of the Monticello Road and Interstate 20 in northwest Columbia.
Another body was also pulled from the drained Carys Lake Tuesday morning. Carys Lake is among the 10 statewide that drained after its dam failed on Monday. The Coroner’s Office said the body of 30-year-old Sampson Pringle was found in the lake on the edge of Arcadia Lakes town on Tuesday morning.
Seven victims have been reported in Richland County. All of those deaths were due to drownings, according to county coroner Gary Watts.
“All of these have been in vehicles or (the victims) were in a vehicle and washed out of the vehicle,” Watts told reporters in a Tuesday press conference. “All of these were related to people traveling in vehicles.”
Another victim drowned outside Lugoff, which is approximately 25 miles northeast of Columbia. Fire officials there said the man had driven around a barricade that closed the road.
Meanwhile, the state Department of Transportation said it has reopened all sections of Interstate 26 statewide. Two bridges over the Saluda River had been closed until Tuesday afternoon as enormous amounts of water were discharged from Lake Murray upriver.
A 74-mile stretch of Interstate 95 remains closed from Florence to the junction with Interstate 26 near Bowman.
In all, slightly less than 470 roads and bridges remain closed statewide. That is down from a high of around 550 total across South Carolina on Monday afternoon.
But it will take time for the state to rebuild much of its damaged infrastructure. Many of those closed roads had sections that were washed away completely by the floods.