Attempted murder charges dropped against mom who drove into Atlantic Ocean
(WESH Channel 2) DAYTONA BEACH – Prosecutors have agreed to drop the attempted murder charges against the mother who drove a van into the ocean with her children inside.
Deputies said Wilkerson drove her three children into the ocean in Daytona Beach in March. Rescuers pulled Wilkerson’s 3-, 9- and 10-year-old children from the sinking vehicle.
The oldest child told beach officers that her mother took them to the beach “so we could die,” according to investigators.
The prosecution and defense have agreed that Wilkerson was temporarily insane at the time of the incident.
“There was a finding by the State Attorney’s Office doctor that my client had a psychotic event, therefore was insane at the time of the incident,” said Wilkerson’s attorney, Craig Dyer.
The defense has long maintained Wilkerson had a break with reality at the time. There is a history of mental illness in her family, and on that day, a number of stressors were working against Wilkerson, Dyer said.
“Those stressors included hypoglycemia, her pregnancy, being without food for almost two days,” he said.
Dyer says Wilkerson was taken to the hospital for erratic behavior the day before she drove into the ocean and was stopped by police for a well-being check the same day. Since she’s been out on bond, she has been under medical care.
“She has come to that point. She now recognizes (she has) an illness and (she has) to take care of it,” he said.
She will plead not guilty by reason of insanity to two counts of child abuse.