DAYTONA BEACH -- A man passing by heard children screaming.

Moments later, he was wading into the Atlantic Ocean.

Police say the pregnant woman who drove a minivan into the water Tuesday is now awaiting a mental health evaluation.

"We heard 'em plainly screaming for help, and I just threw my vehicle in park and just...just took off running," Tim Tesseneer explains. "One kid was on the mother's lap, like, wrestling with her for the steering wheel."

Tessenner and Stacy Robinson tried to stop the driver, but the woman reportedly kept repeating that they were OK.

But she was not OK, according to her sister's 911 call earlier that day.

WATCH raw video from the scene:


"I tried to take her to the hospital yesterday, and she signed herself out today. She's getting a little bit better but she's still not all here."

A Daytona Beach police officer stopped the woman almost two hours before the scene on the beach. The officer and a detective didn't think there was enough to actually detain the woman.

"One kid in the back seat screamed out, you know, 'Please help us. Our mom's trying to kill us,'" Teseneer says.

The children are now in protective custody.