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Man Who Drove Tesla Off Cliff Charged With Attempted Murder

Photo of three rescuers examining a crippled Tesla at the foot of a cliff.

California prosecutors have charged Dharmesh Patel, a 41-year-old radiologist from Southern California, with three counts of attempted murder for driving a Tesla vehicle in which his family was traveling. from a 250-meter cliff earlier this month.

On Monday, San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said his office charged Patel with attempted murder after he looked into statements from his wife, who was in the car and remains in the hospital, people riding behind Patel, and video from tunnel near the scene. January 2. The charges included specific charges of domestic violence and grievous bodily harm, It is reported by the San Francisco Chronicle..

“We believe the evidence supports the necessary intent to kill,” Wagstaffe said.

Patel appeared before San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Finigan on Monday afternoon and was denied bail due to “potential danger to family members,” according to the Chronicle. Finigan also ordered Patel not to disturb his family. The incident left the radiologist with “serious lower body injuries” and was taken to the San Mateo County Jail.

Although there were initially questions about whether Tesla’s autonomous driving mode was activated, given dangerous track record from accidents including him autopilot featuresThe California Highway Patrol said earlier this month that the car did not appear to be at fault. Wagstaffe, the district attorney, said on Monday that the Tesla was not in autonomous driving mode at the time of the crash and that investigators have so far found no problems with the car.

An overhead photo of a white Tesla crumpled at the foot of a cliff.

Witnesses told investigators that the brake lights on Patel’s Tesla were not turned on when the car suddenly turned sharply to the right and plunged down a 250-foot cliff known as Devil’s Hill. Tesla landed on wheels and all four family members were rescued. However, the couple’s 7-year-old daughter was seriously injured. Meanwhile, their 4-year-old son escaped with only bruises.

The experts were stunned, the family survived, telling the New York Times that it was “highly unusual for someone to survive an accident of this magnitude in the area.”

Why exactly Patel decided to throw Tesla off a cliff is still an open question. Wagstaff said the district attorney’s office is still investigating.

“We are investigating what led to this. Was it depression or something else? “It wasn’t just that he was trying to kill them, he was trying to kill himself.”

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