UK & World News

  • 8 March 2014, 2:41

Mum Who Drove Children Into The Sea Charged

A pregnant mother who drove her car into rough sea with her three young children inside has been charged with attempted murder and aggravated child abuse.

Ebony Wilkerson, 32, astonished witnesses on Miami's Daytona Beach on Tuesday when she locked the doors to the minivan and drove it into the crashing waves while her children lowered the windows and screamed for help.

One of Wilkerson's children desperately tried to wrestle the steering wheel away from her when it became apparent what she was doing.

As water surged into the vehicle, Wilkerson reportedly opened the door and walked away, leaving her children inside.

Bystanders who rushed to their rescue were able to pull them to safety moments before the vehicle was swamped by incoming waves.

Volusia County Sheriff Ben Johnson said Wilkerson has denied trying to harm her children.

"She told them to close their eyes and go to sleep. She was trying to take them to a better place," Sheriff Johnson said.

Earlier in the day Wilkerson's sister had called police saying she had been talking about "demons" when she left her house in Daytona Beach.

When police stopped her minivan moments later, Wilkerson told them she was worried her husband was coming to Florida to harm her and her children.

At this point the children, aged three, nine and 10 were sitting quietly and smiling and showed no visible signs of distress, according to police.

Wilkerson is now in police custody after receiving a mental-health evaluation and faces three counts of attempted first-degree murder and aggravated child abuse. Her children have been placed in care.

"You're supposed to protect your children at all costs," Sheriff Johnson said at a news conference. "You're not supposed to try to kill your children."

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