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Tesla Cliff Crash: Doctor Charged With Attempted Murder After Intentionally Driving Family In Danger

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 05: A Tesla model S sits parked outside of a new Tesla showroom and service center in Red Hook, Brooklyn on July 5, 2016 in New York City. The electric car company and its CEO and founder Elon Musk have come under increasing scrutiny following a crash of one of its electric cars while using the controversial autopilot service. Joshua Brown crashed and died in Florida on May 7 in a Tesla car that was operating on autopilot, which means that Brown's hands were not on the steering wheel. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

After being discharged from the hospital and being booked into jail on accusations of attempted murder and child abuse, a Pasadena man is suspected of deliberately driving his Tesla down a cliff in Northern California while his wife, two children, and other passengers were inside. 

Officials arrested and detained Dharmesh A. Patel, 41, without bail. If the San Mateo District Attorney’s Office decides to press charges, he may be arraigned on Monday afternoon. 

When he was discharged from the hospital wasn’t made clear by the office. 

It wasn’t immediately known if Patel had a lawyer to speak for him.


Rescue workers proceed with caution around the spot where a Tesla slammed into a tree in Baarn, on September 7, 2016.
Pioneering US electric car firm Tesla said on September 8, it was investigating a fatal crash in The Netherlands when a Model S sedan ploughed at high-speed into a tree. / AFP / ANP / Robin van Lonkhuijsen / Netherlands OUT (Photo credit should read ROBIN VAN LONKHUIJSEN/AFP via Getty Images)

Tesla Crash: Man Drives Car Off Cliff With Wife, 2 Kids Inside

The accident happened on the infamous Devil’s Slide, a section of Highway 1 that follows the whole length of California’s coastline, in San Mateo County, close to Pacifica. Over the previous fifty years, a number of fatalities have occurred at the Devil’s Slide. 

People Magazine, citing the California Highway Patrol, reported that “investigators obtained probable cause to think this incidence was a deliberate act.” 

Officials detained Patel following the collision at Stanford Hospital, an arrest report that CHP shared to People Magazine show.

The CHP added it received a report of “a car over the edge of the cliff on SR-1” on January 2, at around 10:50 a.m. local tim.

When the CHP and other responding authorities arrived on the site, they discovered a white Tesla that had plunged 250–300 feet over the cliff.

Officials located the family in the car by authorities, who then took them “to a local hospital with critical injuries.” 

It was “absolutely a miracle,” according to Coastside Fire Protection District/Cal Fire battalion chief Brian Pottenger, that all of the passengers survived.

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Man Responsible on Car Crash Detained

The New York Post reported that Patel had been under supervision in the hospital but had recovered enough to be checked into jail last Friday following the horrific accident on January 2 in which he suffered “severe lower body injuries.” 

He was subsequently charged officially on Monday and appeared in court in San Mateo at the Superior Court of California. 

A charge of domestic abuse against Patel’s wife and causing grievous bodily harm to her is also included in the criminal complaint. 

The sole description given for Neha in the court documents is Confidential Victim, while the names of their two children are Jane and John Doe.

Patel, a radiologist at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Los Angeles, will be jailed without bond at Maguire Correctional Facility and has been told not to contact his family. 

The reason for the intentional collision has not been made public. Local sources, one of the kids was comparatively unhurt while the other was seriously injured.

Officials ruled out mechanical failure in the incident as they found no indication of anything malfunctioning in the car. 

The case astounded the Patels’ Pasadena neighbors, who called them a “idyllic” family that lived at the end of a peaceful cul-de-sac.

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