Marion County authorities have now identified a fifth victim of Hurricane Matthew in South Carolina and the first to be blamed on the flooding that wracked the Pee Dee in its aftermath.
The Marion County Coroner’s Office said 40-year-old James Tyler’s body was found in his home this past week. Coroner Jerry Richardson told The Associated Press that rescuers had warned Tyler floodwaters were heading towards his Nichols home last weekend, but Tyler refused to evacuate.
All five of the storm’s deaths in South Carolina have been away from Matthew’s path along the coast. Four of the deaths have been due to drowning, including two Florence County drivers whose vehicles were washed off the road as Matthew passed off the coast Saturday. A Columbia nursing home resident also fell out of his wheelchair and drowned in a puddle during Saturday’s rain, according to the Richland County Coroner’s Office. The fifth victim died in a accident while removing storm debris in Lake View, according to the Dillon County coroner.
Nichols suffered the most catastrophic flooding of any South Carolina town during the hurricane’s aftermath. Department of Natural Resources director Alvin Taylor said his agency’s boats and Coast Guard high-water vehicles rescued roughly 150 residents who had been evacuated to the town hall as floodwater from the Little Pee Dee and Lumber Rivers rose higher.
Richardson said searchers found Tyler’s body in his waterlogged living room Thursday. There have now been 41 confirmed deaths in the United States blamed on Matthew and its effects.
As of Friday afternoon, there were still 155 roads and 27 bridges closed and nearly 39,000 customers without power. But those numbers are much less than they were even at midweek.