California doctor who drove Tesla over cliff is charged with three counts of attempted murder
A doctor who drove his Tesla over a notorious stretch of the California coastline has been charged with three counts of attempted murder, according to the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office.
Dharmesh Patel, 41, was recently released from hospital and booked into jail on suspicion of attempted murder and child abuse, authorities said.
The Pasadena radiologist is being held without bail.
Mr Patel is expected to be arraigned on charges on Monday, exactly four weeks after authorities say he deliberately drive his Tesla Model Y sedan off a sheer 250-foot cliff at Devil’s Slide, just south of San Francisco on the Pacific Coast Highway.
His wife and two young children aged 7 and 4 were injured in the crash. They have since been released from hospital.
Rescuers carried out a daring mission to reach the car, which had become wedged on rocks next to the ocean.
They expressed astonishment that anyone had survived the fall, which occurred along a stretch of California coast where fatal accidents are common.
After initially hailing the mission as a miraculous survival story, authorities revealed they had probable cause that the crash was intentional.
Last week, San Mateo District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe told the Los Angeles Times that investigators were examining the Tesla to rule out the possibility of a mechanical failure.
“Did the brakes fail? Were the brakes working? Were there any other mechanical malfunctions that would have led to him not being able to stop the vehicle?” Mr Wagstaffe told the Times.
“We’re having the car looked at from top to bottom,” he told the paper.