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A Florida mother, who allegedly demanded her four children remove their seatbelts moments before rocketing her van into a palm tree, has blamed the car crash on voodoo spells.
Calicia Williams, 36, has been charged with four counts of attempted murder in the Oct. 2 crash, which occurred in Ocala, a small city about 100 miles northwest of Orlando.
Authorities said Williams’ white Pontiac minivan struck a curb and veered over a median, eventually colliding with a palm tree at “high rate of speed,” according to an arrest affidavit obtained by Oxygen.com.
In the aftermath of the wreckage, police found an “extremely agitated” Williams ranting and raving about voodoo hexes and black magic, according to her arrest affidavit. The Lake City woman was “sweating profusely” and told police she had “marijuana in her system.”
“She stated that her husband had put a hex on her and caused her to crash,” the arrest affidavit described.
When police asked her to explain, “she kept rambling on about spells and voodoo.”
Williams also claimed that “she was being followed by a lot of people in cars” and that she had steered into the palm tree trying to read their license plates.
Her kids, however, helped police fill in the blanks by providing disturbing accounts of what transpired in the Pontiac seconds before slamming into the palm tree.
Their mother told them to “take off their seat belts, stretch out their hands," and then said "the devil can’t hurt you, he only hurts bad people,” the affidavit claimed.
One of her children supposedly told her to slow down, but Williams allegedly responded by yelling at the child and ordering them to unbuckle their seatbelt, according to the arrest affidavit.
Williams’ van sustained “severe” front end damage, according to an Ocala Fire Rescue press release. It’s unclear how fast she was driving upon impact. However, detectives determined “there was no apparent braking before the collision” and that the van was intentionally steered into the palm tree.
The mother and her four children were transported to Shands Hospital in Gainesville. The children, aged 7 to 13, are in stable condition but officials were unable to specify the extent of their injuries. Williams required a leg splint following the wreck. Responding officers observed a “seat belt burn” on Williams’ neck, but a police media spokesperson was unable to confirm if the mother stayed buckled up while her children unbuckled theirs.
“We’re shocked when we see things like this happen,” Corie Byrd, a spokesperson for Ocala Police Department, told Oxygen.com.
“Something like this pulls at your heart strings,” she added. “You would expect a mother to take care of her children. I don’t think a sane person would do this to their children. We’re just devastated for them.”
Byrd suspects Williams has mental health issues but said Ocala police are still working to determine a motive.
“We don’t know that ‘why’ yet,” she explained. “Detectives are working hard to figure that out because we want to get down to the bottom of this.”
The case, Byrd explained, was reminiscent of a similar incident in Daytona Beach in 2014, when Ebony Wilkerson attempted to drive her minivan — and her three children, who were passengers — into the ocean.
“This isn’t as rare as you’d hope it to be,” Byrd said.
Williams is still recovering in the hospital but will be booked upon her release, police said. No court date has been scheduled yet.
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