Police say a Pasadena man named Dharmesh A. Patel, identified as a doctor in multiple news reports, intentionally drove his Tesla off a 250-foot cliff with his wife and two kids still in the car. Miraculously, the entire family survived the ordeal. Patel now faces charges of attempted murder and child abuse.
ABC 7 reports that a man in Pasadena, California, has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and child abuse after authorities allege that he drove his Tesla off a cliff with his wife and two small children still in the car.
Dharmesh A. Patel, identified as a doctor in the report, allegedly drove his car off a 250-foot cliff along the Pacific Coast Highway near an area known as Devil’s Slide. The vehicle tumbled down the cliffside, flipping several times before landing on its wheels.
All of the individuals in the vehicle survived, and a rescue crew successfully removed the children from the car using a rescue basket and rope system. The children, a 7-year-old girl and a 4-year-old boy, were taken to the hospital with musculoskeletal injuries.
Patel and his wife reportedly had traumatic injuries and had to be hoisted up the cliffside via helicopter. Both were then flown directly to the hospital.
The California Highway Patrol (CHP) said in a statement that it had probable cause to believe the incident was intentional. “CHP investigators worked throughout the night interviewing witnesses and gathering evidence from the scene,” the statement said. “Based on the evidence collected, investigators developed probable cause to believe this incident was an intentional act.”
Those that know the Patels seem shocked by the incident, with one neighbor, Sarah Walker, telling ABC 7: “They’re like ideal neighbors. It seemed like they had a great holiday, they went to go see both parents. It just seemed very happy and great.”
Authorities have not yet determined the Tesla’s driving mode at the time of the crash, but they do not believe it was a contributing factor. According to the CHP, Patel will be booked into San Mateo County Jail once he is released from the hospital. It is currently unclear if Patel has an attorney. The investigation is ongoing.