DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (NBC) – The woman who drove her minivan into the Atlantic Ocean with three children inside has been charged with three counts of attempted first-degree murder, authorities in Florida said Friday.
The woman, Ebony Wilkerson, was also charged with three counts of aggravated child abuse, Volusia County Sheriff Ben Johnson said.
The three children were saved by rescuers who charged into the water on Tuesday afternoon at Daytona Beach.
Johnson said that an investigation had found that the woman tried to stop the rescuers from helping the children, and that her son was at one time trying to fight her for the steering wheel.
“She did intentionally try to kill the children,” he told reporters.
He said that Wilkerson told the children during the episode to “close their eyes and go to sleep, she was taking them to a better place.”