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Doctor arrested for allegedly driving Tesla car off cliff on purpose with wife, children inside

By John Patrick Magno Ranara Published Jan 06, 2023 2:01 pm

A radiologist from California who was involved in a car wreck with his wife and children has been arrested following accusations that he intentionally let the incident happen.

According to multiple news outlets including PEOPLE and Los Angeles Times, 40-year-old Dharmesh Patel had gotten into a severe accident after their Tesla car fell 250 feet off the infamous "Devil's Slide" cliff in California where many fatal accidents have occurred due to its rocky edges.

He was accompanied by his 41-year-old wife, along with a seven-year-old girl and a four-year-old boy.

Reports detailed that the California Highway Patrol (CHP) was alerted of the crash and immediately sent authorities to recover the family, who all sustained "serious injuries," and rushed them to a local hospital.

CHP stated in a news release that after interviewing witnesses and gathering evidence from the scene, investigators "developed probable cause to believe this incident was an intentional act," which led to Patel being put behind bars for attempted murder and child abuse.

Tesla cars are notable for having the driver-assistance system called Autopilot, which can steer, brake and accelerate its cars on highways. Police said that while they cannot determine as to what driving mode the Tesla was in, it did not appear to be a contributing factor in the incident.

Patel, who is said to work as a radiologist with 11 to 20 years of experience, has since shocked his neighbors because of his alleged actions as he seemed to come off as a "great guy" in his neighborhood.

"They’re a beautiful, idyllic family, no indication of issues. It’s so strange because he is a great guy. Maybe it was a moment of insanity," one of his neighbors who has lived on the block more than 40 years told Los Angeles Times.

Another one shared, "Dharmesh and I would wave 'Hi,' but he would always come over and have a conversation. He was always happy and ready to talk."

With regards to Patel's relationship with his wife, one of their neighbors said that they "felt like newlyweds" based on their interactions with each other, which is why "no one can believe" the charges made against him.

Patel remains at a local hospital for treatment and is expected to be booked at the San Mateo County Jail after he is discharged. The health status of his wife and children has not been disclosed.