Original video of van driving into ocean sought

Published On: May 05 2014 09:56:48 AM EDT

The Public Defender's Office is seeking original video of a woman driving her minivan into the Atlantic Ocean off Daytona Beach with her children inside.

The Daytona Beach News-Journal reported that Ebony Wilkerson remains in the hospital. The North Charleston, South Carolina, woman faces three counts each of attempted second-degree murder and child abuse following the March incident.

Public Defender James Purdy said Wilkerson, who is eight months pregnant, was hospitalized after hitting herself in the stomach.

Purdy said he wants the "original" video of the ocean incident, taken by a man who was watching from the beach.

"The original video that started the whole national news coverage that the man made while sitting in the car on the beach, to my knowledge, the State Attorney's Office does not have the original unedited version of that," Purdy said. "It has not received it from the person who took it."

Purdy said he's only seen YouTube videos and television footage of the incident.

"We don't know if they're complete, if they cover the entire thing, if they have been sped up, if they have been slowed down," he said.

He said one television station sped up the video so they could squeeze the story into a shorter segment. "They sped up the video where it looks like instead of going 10 mph, it looks like she went 50 mph," Purdy said.

David Smith, chief of operations for the State Attorney's Office, wondered what Purdy means by "original" in the ages of ubiquitous cell phone footage.

"I don't know what you can call an original video anymore," he said. "We have every video we can find."

Smith said his office would be happy to share all of the videos with the defense team.

Meantime, Purdy said if Wilkerson is transferred back to the jail, his office would receive a 24-hour notice to argue for her $1.2 million bail to be reduced. She was originally arrested on attempted first-degree murder charges, but prosecutors filed lesser second-degree charges.

Purdy said the lesser charges give attorneys a better argument to reduce bail.


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