DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (PIX11/AP) — A mother behind the wheel of a minivan that was driven with her three children into the surf off Daytona Beach, Fla., is undergoing a mental evaluation.
The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office also said Wednesday that the children were turned over to the care of the Florida Department of Children and Families.
Bystanders and officers helped pull the reportedly pregnant woman and her children — ages 3, 9 and 10 — from their minivan after it became nearly submerged in the Atlantic surf Tuesday afternoon. Tim Tesseneer, a bystander who was one of the first to help, told WESH Orlando that two of the children in the backseat were screaming, “Our mommy’s trying to kill us, please help.”
“They have been through a very rough ordeal,” DCF spokesman John Harrell said. “We would not want to have the children placed in an environment in which they would not be cared for.”
Beach safety officers say the minivan with a South Carolina tag was being driven recklessly southbound on the beach when it suddenly turned eastward into the ocean.
The family was taken to a hospital for treatment.