Children, ages 3, 9, and 10, okay after crash
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — A witness who helped rescue a family after their mother allegedly drove her minivan into the ocean tells WESH 2 that one of the children was screaming that their mother was trying to kill them.
Tim Tesseneer, of Rutherfordton, N.C., said he was one of the two men to first reach the minivan.
The pregnant mother allegedly drove it into the ocean north of the Silver Beach approach in Daytona Beach Tuesday afternoon. Tesseneer said the woman made a hard turn toward the ocean.
It is possible there was a medical emergency, which could have led the driver to lose control and wind up in the water.
Tesseneer told WESH 2 that one of the children inside was screaming that their mom was trying to kill them.
“The two in the back seat was crying, with their arms out saying ‘Our mommy’s trying to kill us, please help,’” said Tesseneer.
A bystander’s video of the rescue shows a rescuer carrying two children away from the sinking van when the children tell them there was another child inside.
“The kids are like, ‘No there’s a baby. There’s a baby,’” Tesseneer said. “She (the mother) wouldn’t say a word. She didn’t tell us nothing about a baby.”
The men are seen on video frantically trying to get to the small child through the hatchback and the driver’s side door.
Video shows that the mother appears disoriented and walks away from the minivan, with the child still inside.
“She had this look on her face,” said Tesseneer. “I can’t describe it. It was just an awful blank look, like spaced out look.”
The small child is eventually pulled to safety.
The mother has been admitted to a local hospital for a mental health examination.
Her children, aged 3, 9 and 10, were also taken to the hospital to be examined and are OK, officials said.
Investigators said the mother will not speak with them about the incident.
Department of Children and Families is also investigating the mother’s drive into the ocean.
Officials said the children could be turned over to a relative in Orlando.