Feedback
News
Minivan Mom Case

Bond Set at $1.2M for Mom Who Drove Children into Ocean

A Florida judge has set bail at $1.2 million for the pregnant South Carolina mom who drove her minivan packed with her three children into the ocean — setting off a frantic rescue effort caught on video.

Ebony Wilkerson, 32, appeared in a Volusia County court for the first time Saturday after she was charged with three counts of attempted murder and three counts of child abuse in Tuesday's dramatic incident in Daytona Beach, Fla.

Volusia County Court Judge Shirley Green found probable cause for all charges, and the bail amount included $300,000 for the three attempted murder counts and $100,000 for each child abuse count.

Wilkerson had plunged her Honda Odyssey into about 3 feet of surf. Bystanders on the beach rescued the children, who were not seriously injured, authorities said.

“Mom tried to kill us,” the children — ages 3, 9 and 10 — told investigators from the hospital after the incident, according to the Volusia County Sheriff's Office.

1:32

Wilkerson is also nearly 28 weeks pregnant, according to NBC affiliate WYFF.

She was hospitalized for a mental evaluation before she was taken into the custody of the sheriff's office and charged, Volusia County Sheriff Ben Johnson said.

A report from police in Myrtle Beach, S.C., shows Wilkerson had called 911 on March 1 to claim that her husband, Lutful Ronjon, held her down and raped her.

Following a call from Wilkerson's sister on Tuesday, police in Daytona Beach tracked her down, pulled her over and later wrote in a report that Wilkerson appeared to be “suffering from some form of mental illness.” But the officer said she appeared lucid, and didn't believe she was a danger to herself or her children.

A date for Wilkerson's arraignment was not released.

Image: Ebony Wilkerson appears in a booking mugshot released by the Volusia County Sheriff's department in Daytona Beach
Ebony Wilkerson appears in a booking mugshot released by the Volusia County Sheriff's Department in Daytona Beach, Fla., on March 7, 2014. HANDOUT / Reuters

— Elisha Fieldstadt

The Associated Press contributed to this report.