Mother undergoing mental evaluation after driving children into - WRBL

Mother undergoing mental evaluation after driving children into ocean

Posted: Updated:
DAYTONA BEACH, FL (WFLA) -

A pregnant South Carolina woman who drove a minivan carrying her three young children into the ocean off Florida had talked about demons before leaving the house, according to her sister who worriedly called police, officials said during a news conference Wednesday.

After the call to dispatch Tuesday, Daytona Beach police officers stopped 31-year-old Ebony Wilkerson's black Honda Odyssey and she expressed fear that her husband would be coming to Florida to harm her and her children, said Police Chief Mike Chitwood.

"When we spoke with her she was lucid," Chitwood said. "The children were in the back seat, they were buckled in and were not in distress. Although the sergeant said she looked like she had some mental illness, she did not fit the criteria for going into custody under the Baker Act."

The Florida Mental Health Act, commonly known as the Baker Act, allows authorities to involuntarily take people into custody if they seem to be a threat to themselves.

Two hours after the police stop, Wilkerson drove into the ocean. Bystanders and officers helped pull her and her children - ages 3, 9 and 10 - from their minivan as it was almost submerged.

Ebony Wilkerson's sister told police she was concerned about her sister's mental state, Chitwood said.

"Her sister had called dispatch and told them that she (Wilkerson) had been talking about demons that day before she left the house," Chitwood said.

Chitwood said Wilkerson went to Halifax Health Medical Center on Monday to voluntarily check herself but then decided against it and walked out.

The children were turned over to welfare authorities. The Volusia County Sheriff's Office said Wilkerson was undergoing a mental evaluation. Sheriff Ben Johnson said it's too early to say whether Wilkerson will face criminal charges.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • Reports: FBI probes JPMorgan hack

    Reports: FBI probes JPMorgan hack

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 9:19 PM EDT2014-08-28 01:19:51 GMT
    Reports: FBI probes JPMorgan hackReports: FBI probes JPMorgan hack
    The FBI is investigating a hacking attack on JPMorgan Chase and at least one other bank, according to reports citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter.
    The FBI is investigating a hacking attack on JPMorgan Chase and at least one other bank, according to reports citing unnamed sources familiar with the matter.
  • Bay area home security customers continue to complain they were mislead

    Bay area home security customers continue to complain they were mislead

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 6:54 PM EDT2014-08-27 22:54:28 GMT
    Bay area homeowners continue to complain of door-to-door salesman from Vision Security.
    Bay area homeowners continue to complain of door-to-door salesman from Vision Security.
  • Pinellas front desk school staff trained to handle medical needs at some schools

    Pinellas front desk school staff trained to handle medical needs at some schools

    Tuesday, August 26 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-08-26 21:15:59 GMT
    Penny Perez, of St. Petersburg, worries every time she sends her 11-year-old son, Keith, to school. Keith has a rare condition called Williams Syndrome. He is developmentally delayed, and if his blood pressure is too high for an extended period of time, his heart could stop.
    Penny Perez, of St. Petersburg, worries every time she sends her 11-year-old son, Keith, to school. Keith has a rare condition called Williams Syndrome. He is developmentally delayed, and if his blood pressure is too high for an extended period of time, his heart could stop.
  • Sign up for WFLA News Channel 8 Email Alerts

    * denotes required fields






    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.
Powered by WorldNow

1350 13th Avenue
Columbus, GA 31901

Telephone: 706.323.3333
Fax: 706.327.6655
Email: news@wrbl.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.