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Woman drives children into ocean

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.— A pregnant South Carolina woman who drove a minivan carrying her three young children into the ocean off Florida had talked about demons before leaving the house, according to her sister who called police, officials said Wednesday.

After the call to dispatch Tuesday, Daytona Beach police officers stopped 31-year-old Ebony Wilkerson’s black Honda Odyssey, and she expressed fear that her husband would be coming to Florida to harm her and her children, said Police Chief Mike Chitwood.

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‘‘When we spoke with her she was lucid,’’ Chitwood said.

He said there was not sufficient legal reason to take her into custody.

Two hours after the police stop, Wilkerson drove into the ocean. Bystanders and officers helped pull her and her children — ages 3, 9, and 10 — from their minivan as it was almost submerged.

The children were turned over to welfare authorities and Wilkerson underwent a mental evaluation.

Officials said it’s too early to say whether Wilkerson would face criminal charges.

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