Woman filed sex assault report, before driving in ocean

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. —There is new information on the South Carolina mother who drove her minivan full of children into the ocean in Daytona Beach.

Myrtle Beach television stations are reporting Ebony Wilkerson filed a sexual assault report against her husband six days ago. He was not arrested.

The Post and Courier in Charleston also reports Wilkerson was involved in a deadly crash in Palm Beach County in 2007. She was cited for improperly changing lanes on Interstate 95, causing another driver to crash.

PHOTO GALLERY: Van goes into the ocean at Daytona Beach

The 32-year-old mother has been undergoing mental health exams after Tuesday's incident.

On Thursday, police said Wilkerson did not meet the requirements to be hospitalized under the Baker Act when they stopped her two hours before she drove into the ocean. Police now say that if they had known Wilkerson's family wanted her hospitalized, things may have turned out differently.

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"The complaint is she's been a little off lately, she's been a victim of domestic abuse," said Daytona Beach Police Chief Mike Chitwood.

Wilkerson's sister, Jessica Harrell, told police she tried to convince her sister to stay with them, but Wilkerson refused and left the home on Bishop Butts Circle against the family's wishes. Harrell called 911.

"She's talking about Jesus and that there are demons in my house and that I'm trying to control her, but I'm trying to keep them safe," Harrell said on the 911 call.

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Harrell mentioned to the 911 operator that family had tried and failed to hospitalize Wilkerson Monday for mental health care, but the officers who stopped Wilkerson's black van didn't know that and when they called Harrell, she didn't mention it.

"Had we had that piece of information that the family wanted her Baker Acted or wanted her to voluntarily Baker Act herself that may have had a different spin on it," Chitwood said.

It is not known if Wilkerson has told investigators why she drove into the ocean.

Her three children, who were in the minivan, were rescued. They remain in the custody of Florida Department of Children and Families. Once a background check is completed, officials expect to release the children to family members in the Central Florida region.


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