Mom who drove kids into ocean in Daytona Beach appears in court

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - The woman accused of trying to kill her three children in Daytona Beach by driving them into the Atlantic Ocean in a minivan appeared in a Volusia County courtroom Friday morning.

A motion filed by Ebony Wilkerson's defense claims she was severely disoriented due to low blood sugar at the time of the incident.

Ebony Wilkerson's blood sugar level was measured at 44 by paramedics called to the beach March 4. Assistant Public Defender Craig Dyer said a normal range would be from 70 to 100.

"I still feel it is an important factor and it is a game changer," said Public Defender James Purdy.

Wilkerson's public defenders believe she suffered a hypoglycemic attack, something experts said is brought on by low blood sugar and can cause a number of symptoms including confusion, delirium, anger, stubbornness and sadness.

Wilkerson's attorneys have filed a motion requesting information from the Volusia County Jail. The motion requests records of how she was treated, tested, medicated and what she was given to eat.

Days after her arrest for the beach incident, prosecutors said she punched herself in the stomach when she was pregnant.

"Between the mental health issues that she had, now we found out that she had a 44 blood sugar level, 146 pulse rate at the time she came out of the water," said Purdy.

The judge and attorneys also discussed whether Wilkerson violated terms of her pretrial release by testing positive for alcohol in an Aug. 6 urinalysis. The mother claims she had only consumed Nyquil, which has 10 percent alcohol. She'll now have to submit a urine test each week.

The Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, woman  is charged with three counts each of attempted murder and child abuse. The defense wouldn't comment on how often Wilkerson is able to see her children.

Earlier this year, the children told police their mother locked the doors of the van, put up the windows and told them to "close their eyes and go to sleep," authorities said.

One of the children told authorities Wilkerson drove into the surf, saying she was doing it to “keep all of us safe.”

The oldest child grabbed the steering wheel and unsuccessfully tried to steer the vehicle away from the water, authorities said.

One of the children pushed the power button to lower the windows and the children started screaming for help.

By the time the vehicle stopped, witnesses said the ocean water was rushing into the minivan and the vehicle was quickly filling up.

When lifeguards and beachgoers ran to the van to help, Wilkerson told them everything was OK, authorities said but did not mention that her children were still in the car.

Lifeguards and good Samaritans, however, heard the children screaming that their mother was trying to kill them and were able to safely rescue them.

Wilkerson has a pre-trial hearing scheduled for next week.

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