California man accused of driving family’s Tesla off cliff is charged
A California man accused of driving his family off a costal cliff has been charged with premediated attempted murder.
A San Mateo County clerk confirmed to USA TODAY that 41-year-old Dharmesh Patel of Pasadena was charged on Monday ahead of a court arraignment.
No attorney was listed for Patel in court records and the county’s public defender’s office says they aren’t representing him.
On Jan. 2, police say Patel drove his Tesla off a cliff along an area of the Pacific Coast Highway known as the Devil’s Slide.
The car dropped more than 250 feet and flipped several times before landing on its wheels, wedging against the cliff just feet from the surf, Brian Pottenger, a Cal Fire battalion chief, said at the scene.
What we know:Police said a doctor drove his Tesla off a cliff with his wife and family inside.
Patel was the car with his wife and their 7-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son.
Though all had mostly minor injuries, everyone survived.
“Based on the evidence collected, investigators developed probable cause to believe this incident was an intentional act,” the California Highway Patrol said in a statement earlier this month.
Pottenger called it a “miracle” that anyone survived, let alone the entire family.
“Every one of us was shocked when we saw movement out of the front windshield,” he said.
Patel is a doctor in radiology at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in the Mission Hills area of Los Angeles.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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