VOLUSIA COUNTY, Fla. -- The woman accused of driving a van with her kids inside into the ocean at Daytona Beach was denied unsupervised visits with her kids by a judge Monday.
- Ebony Wilkerson denied unsupervised visits w/ kids
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Wilkerson's public defender waived her attendance in court Monday, so he stood in her place.
But her attorney argued Wilkerson should be able to have unsupervised weekend trips with her children and husband only.
"Obviously what I'm trying to do is incrementally loosen the restraints so that we can show a track record of her doing well and eventually having her return to being a mother," Assistant Public Defender Jay Crocker said.
She was close to spending some unsupervised time with her children but the judge said no.
"I'm a little concerned that it's too soon to have the children in that mix without a outside supervisor," said the judge.
In 2014, Ebony Wilkerson pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to the allegations that she drove her van, with her children inside, into the Atlantic Ocean.
Lifeguards and bystanders pulled Wilkerson's three children out of the van after Wilkerson, who was pregnant at the time, walked away as the vehicle began to submerge.
Three children were placed in state care; the fourth, who was born while Wilkerson was in jail, was turned over to the child's father.
In 2017, she was allowed to move out of a state psychiatric hospital and into transitional housing in Polk County. Last November, she was granted supervised visits away with the children with an employee from her transitional housing in tow.
"... I love my children, I take good care of them. I wouldn't hurt my children. Even when I had the incident in 2014, I was just following things, hearing voices to follow stuff. At the end of the day, I just ended up having a breakdown with my babies with me," Wilkerson said.
A Volusia County judge cited previous allegations of abuse by Wilkerson's husband were documented as part of her insanity plea when the incident happened in 2014.
"The judge is looking at the past and not seeing the future, and it's unfair. It's really unfair, and I'm very disappointed in the ruling because we can do better than this," Wilkerson said.
Since January, Wilkerson has gotten to spend a couple nights a week with her husband only.
"This affects the family and it affects me and my unrest. This is not something we're taking lightly we want our family to come back together," Wilkerson said.
The judge said she thinks Wilkerson needs a few more supervised visits, but did say she’s open to setting a time frame for when they could revisit the case.
Spectrum News 13 Reporter Brittany Jones contributed to this story.