Lifeguards, rescue crews, and others ran to the rescue on Tuesday, March 4, 2014, when a woman deliberately drove her minivan, loaded with her children, into the Atlantic Ocean. MyNews13 reported rescuers had to save three children from the van before the very rough surf ended up flipping the minivan over and could have possibly killed them.
Family members of 32-year-old Ebony Williams, of South Carolina, told police that she had been acting very strange about two hours before she drove into the ocean.
"Her sister had called dispatch and told them that she had been talking about demons that day before she left the house," Police Chief Mike Chitwood said Wednesday.
Police had pulled Wilkerson over to do a well-being check, but they did not finding her acting in any way that required them to take her into custody.
Not long after that, she drove onto Daytona Beach and then into the Atlantic Ocean. Tim Tesseneer, of North Carolina, was one of the first two men to reach the minivan in the water.
"The two in the back seat was crying, with their arms out saying 'Our mommy's trying to kill us, please help,'" said Tesseneer.
A bystander on the beach started taking video of the rescue and rescuers can be seen carrying two children away from the vehicle. The van began sinking into the water, but the children began crying that there was another in the van.
"The kids are like, 'No there's a baby. There's a baby,'" Tesseneer said. "She (the mother) wouldn't say a word. She didn't tell us nothing about a baby."
Eventually, the baby was pulled to safety, and all three children (ages 3, 9, and 10) were taken into custody Wednesday after being released from Halifax Health Medical Center.
On the bystander's video, Wilkerson can be seen exiting the vehicle and simply walking away with a disoriented look on her face. Tesseneer said, "She had this look on her face. I can't describe it. It was just an awful blank look, like spaced out look."
Wilkerson remains in the hospital as police said she will have to undergo a mental evaluation. She will then be interviewed by police before possibly being charged.
Wilkerson's family said that she told them she needed to get to a place of safety and not tell them where, so that her ex-husband couldn't find them and hurt her or the children. They also have said that Wilkerson was talking about demons earlier in the day.