DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (WACH/AP) -- A pregnant South Carolina woman who drove a minivan carrying her three young children into the ocean surf off Florida is being charged with attempted murder and aggravated child abuse.
Volusia County Sheriff Ben Johnson said Friday that 31-year-old Ebony Wilkerson is being charged with three counts of attempted first-degree murder and three counts of aggravated child abuse.
Bystanders and officers helped pull Wilkerson and her children from their minivan as it was almost submerged on Tuesday on Daytona Beach. The children are 3, 9 and 10.
The sheriff says Wilkerson has denied trying to harm her children, but her children told investigators otherwise.
Johnson says the windows were rolled up and the doors were locked. He says one of the children tried to wrestle the steering wheel away.
The entire rescue was caught on camera. Tim Tesseneer, of Rutherfordton, was driving on the beach with his family and witnessed the car go into the water.
He and three Daytona Beach lifeguards rushed to save the woman and her three children.
Police say the lifeguards became victims themselves as the sand sucked down the minivan, but the guards and Tesseneer were finally able to get the family to shore.
The video also shows the mother, who appears to be disoriented.
Tesseneer says he tried asking her what she why she drove into the ocean but she wouldn't talk to him or anyone else at the scene. She was admitted to the hospital for a mental health examination.
Authorities believe32-year-old Ebony Wilkerson from Cross, South Carolina deliberately drove the van into the ocean but they haven't said why.
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