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Mom who drove kids into ocean charged with attempted murder: Fought off rescuers

The pregnant woman who drove her van with her three kids inside into the ocean surf in Florida is now facing attempted murder charges. One of the passersby who helped rescue the children from of the sinking van, Tim Tesseneer, spoke with Fox News live on Friday March 7.

Pregnant mother drives van into ocean with three kids, dramatic rescue as van starts to go under.
YouTube screen shot

Tesseneer said that one of the children was screaming, “help she is trying to kill us.” The kids, ages three, six and nine were rescued from the van, according to USA Today on March 7. The vehicle was getting carried further out in the surf and quickly going under. The mother is seen on the video getting out of the van and almost getting sucked under the vehicle by the turbulent surf. She made her way to shore without turning back for her kids.

The rescue was so harrowing that Tesseneer had to struggle to get the kids to shore and the lifeguard that went into the van to rescue the last child, got stuck inside the vehicle and needed to be rescued along with the child. Another lifeguard got the two of them out and helped them to shore.

Police say that the pregnant mother told her kids to “close their eyes” and that she was “taking them to a better place” before driving into the surf of Daytona Beach. Ebony Wilkerson, 32, who is from North Carolina was in Florida visiting her sister. The horrific attempt to drown herself along with her kids was caught on video, as was the passersby springing into action as soon as they saw what was happening.

Wilkerson tried to fight one of the rescuers off when he was coming through the window after the kids. Her son was fighting his mother for control of the steering wheel during the drive towards the water. Wilkerson locked the doors and rolled up the windows then drove the van directly into the surf.

Wilkerson’s sister had called 911 hours earlier trying to get help for her sister, who was acting odd. The pregnant mother was talking about Jesus and telling her sister that there were demons in her house.

Police said the outcome of this story “would have been tragic” if the rescuers had come 10 minutes later than they did. On Friday Wilkerson was still undergoing a mental evaluation. Tesseneer told Fox News that he understood after the kids went to the hospital they were placed in the custody of the state until relatives that could take the kids are located.