Tesla driver who drove family over Devil's Slide cliff charged with attempted murder
The driver of a Tesla that plunged 250 feet off a cliff at Devil's Slide, injuring his two young children and his wife, was charged Monday with attempted murder, according to the prosecutor's office.
Dharmesh A. Patel, 41, was released from the hospital and booked into jail last week and is being held without bail.
Two of Patel's charges also carry enhancements of domestic violence and great bodily injury.
Prosecutors have not yet revealed a motive, but said that on Jan. 2 Patel deliberately drove his Tesla Model Y off of Highway 1 at Devil's Slide, in an attempt to kill his wife and two young children ages 4 and 7.
Miraculously, the family survived the crash after the treacherous drop of 250 feet.
Firefighters were forced to cut the family out of the wreckage.
Patel, a doctor from Pasadena, was seriously injured and had remained hospitalized since the crash.
Patel’s wife is still hospitalized and has not been interviewed by prosecutors.
California Highway Patrol investigators said early on that it appeared the crash "was an intentional act," the agency said.
Patel was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and child abuse. Officers waited until his release from the hospital before moving him to Maguire Correctional Facility.
Before Patel was charged Monday, prosecutors had been looking into whether a mechanical problem caused the crash.
The vehicle is in the hands of a special CHP major accident investigation team.