New photos show father accused of attempted murder for driving Tesla off cliff with wife and children inside

Investigators do not believe that the Tesla was operating in Autopilot or Full Self-Driving mode

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
Wednesday 04 January 2023 13:07 EST

Two adults and two children rescued after Tesla plunges 250ft off California cliff

A California man has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and child abuse after authorities say deliberately drove a Tesla off a cliff with two children and an adult inside.

The electric vehicle plunged more than 250 feet off a cliff along the Pacific Coast Highway in Northern California near an area known as Devil’s Slide on Monday morning.

Dharmesh A Patel, of Pasadena, California, was arrested after California Highway Patrol investigators decided there was probable cause that it had been an “intentional act.”

Officials say that Mr Patel, his wife Neha, their four-year-old daughter and nine-year-old son survived the crash and were all conscious and alert when rescuers got to them hours after the crash.

Investigators do not believe that the Tesla was operating in Autopilot or Full Self-Driving mode at the time of the incident, Officer Mark Andrews told KABC.

Mr Patel is being treated for his injuries and will be booked into San Mateo County Jail when he is released from hospital.

He works as a radiologist at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills, outside of Los Angeles, according to KABC.

Dharmesh Patel is facing attempted murder and child abuse charges after authorities say he deliberately drove his Tesla off a cliff in California

“Providence Holy Cross Medical Center is deeply saddened to learn of a traffic incident involving one of our physicians and his family,” the medical facility said in a statement.

“We are extremely grateful there were no serious injuries. We will not respond further, as this incident is under investigation.”

Devil’s Slide, a steep, rocky and windy coastal area about 15 miles south of San Francisco, is known for fatal car wrecks.

“We go there all the time for cars over the cliff and they never live. This was an absolute miracle,” Brian Pottenger, a battalion chief for Coastside Fire Protection District/Cal Fire, told the Associated Press.

Dharmesh Patel is a radiologist in Pasadena

Witness Robin Johnson gave NBC Bay Area details about what had happened.

“As I’m driving by, I’m like, ‘Wow, he’s driving extremely fast to take that exit. You’re not even supposed to be going up that way,” she said.

“And I can see in my rear-view mirror this car that just go over the edge and straight down.”

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