WCBD-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Charleston, SC

From our News Partners at WCBD-TV:

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - A pregnant woman from South Carolina drove her minivan into the ocean in Daytona Beach, Florida, with her three children inside.

32-year-old Ebony Wilkerson is in the hospital and will undergo a mental health evaluation. Daytona Beach deputies will also interview her to determine if she will be charged.

News 2 has learned Wilkerson used to live in a trailer in Cross, behind the Canal One Stop Gas Station and Grocery Store. We're told she most recently lived off Dorchester Road in North Charleston.

NBC affiliate, WESH, reports that Daytona Beach Police interviewed Wilkerson just hours before the incident. She told police she was going to a safe place she worked out with a domestic violence shelter. Wilkerson was afraid her ex-husband would find her and hurt the children.

Several witnesses rushed to rescue Wilkerson and her children after she drove into the ocean.

Tim Tesseneer of North Carolina says he helped pull the 9 and 10 year old from the van. Both said their mother's actions were intentional.

Tesseneer says, "We heard the kids say, 'please help me... our mom's trying to kill us."

He also says the two children told rescuers about their 3-year-old sibling who was still strapped in a car seat while their mother wandered off.

All three children are in the hands of Florida's Department of Children and Families. They'll be placed with family members following a background check.

Image courtesy of WCBD-TV. (From their partners at WESH)