Charges reduced for mom accused of driving kids into ocean

Ebony Wilkerson charged with attempted 2nd-degree murder

(Volusia County Corrections)

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The state on Tuesday reduced the charges for the mother accused of driving her children into the ocean off Daytona Beach to attempted second-degree murder.

Ebony Wilkerson, 32, was originally charged by Volusia County Sheriff's Office with attempted first-degree murder, but the State Attorney's Office announced three counts of second-degree murder instead.

If convicted, Wilkerson could still face a life prison sentence.

According to Volusia County sheriff's deputies, one of the children said that Wilkerson, who is 28 weeks pregnant, locked the doors of the minivan on March 4, rolled up the windows and drove into the ocean, saying she was doing it to "keep all of us safe."

Her children -- ages 3, 9 and 10 -- were not seriously injured in the incident and were rescued by beach officials and onlookers. The children were placed in the custody of the Florida Department of Children and Families.

Wilkerson told investigators she was trying to get away from her abusive husband.