Minivan mom charged

, Posted: Fri, March 7 2014 at 1:43 PM, Updated: Fri, March 7 2014 at 1:50 PM

Daytona Beach, Fla. -- (NBC News)  A  mother who drove her minivan into the ocean surf off of Daytona Beach Florida with her three children inside has been charged with three counts of attempted first-degree murder and aggravated child abuse.

The Volusia County Sheriff's Office says they determined Ebony Wilkerson intentionally tried to kill the children.

Authorities said Wilkerson locked the doors and rolled up the windows of her minivan as she drove into the Atlantic Ocean Tuesday. 

The children — a 3-year-old girl, a 9-year-old boy and a 10-year-old girl — were taken to a hospital but not seriously hurt, and are in protective custody.

Investigators said that the woman had tried to stop the rescuers from helping the children. They said that one witness reported seeing one child on Wilkerson’s lap, fighting her for control of the wheel.

The 10-year-old later told investigators that their mother took them to the beach “so we could die,” the sheriff’s department said.

Wilkerson, who is almost 28 weeks pregnant, is being held without a bond.

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