Dharmesh Patel Pasadena doctor accused of intentionally driving 250ft off Devil’s Slide cliff only for the man’s wife and their two kids to survive deadly crash. No known motive as family is described glowingly by neighbors.
A California doctor father has been accused of intentionally driving off a notorious cliff side in a bid to kill himself and his wife and their two children. The accusation comes after the automobile plunging 250ft off Devil’s Slide, only for all four vehicle occupants to survive, with non life threatening injuries, Monday morning.
Dharmesh Patel, a 41-year-old physician from Pasadena, will be booked on attempted murder and child abuse charges once he is out of a hospital, the California Highway Patrol said in a statement.
‘CHP investigators worked throughout the night interviewing witnesses and gathering evidence from the scene,’ the highway patrol said in a statement.
‘Based on the evidence collected, investigators developed probable cause to believe this incident was an intentional act.’
Patel, his wife, Neha, and their children — a 7-year-old girl and 4-year-old boy — miraculously survived after their Tesla electric car careened off the notoriously perilous part of the Pacific Coast Highway known as the ‘Devil’s Slide’ about 10:50 a.m. Monday. The vehicle apparently flipped several times before coming to rest on its wheels, just feet from the ocean.
‘Providence Holy Cross Medical Center is deeply saddened to learn of a traffic incident involving one of our physicians and his family. We are extremely grateful there were no serious injuries,’ the hospital said in a released statement Tuesday.
‘We will not respond further, as this incident is under investigation,’ it added.
Investigators have not yet determined what driving mode the Tesla was in — including whether it had its Autopilot function on — but don’t believe the mode contributed to the crash, CBS News reported.
‘This remains an ongoing investigation and no further information is being released at this time,’ the CHP said.
Several neighbors of the Patels were shocked to hear of the crash and subsequent arrest.
‘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,’ Sarah Walker told KABC.
‘Sweetest couple, with two great young kids’
Speaking to CBS LA, Roger Newmark who lives two houses down from the Patels described the young family, as the ‘sweetest couple, with two great young kids.’
The Patels according to the neighbor moved in five years ago and are much adored in the community.
The family members were initially listed in critical condition but all four were conscious and alert when rescuers arrived. There was no guardrail at the spot when the white Tesla went over the edge.
‘We go there all the time for cars over the cliff and they never live. This was an absolute miracle,’ Brian Pottenger, a battalion chief for Coastside Fire Protection District/Cal Fire, said Monday.
First responders suddenly noticed movement from the mangled vehicle — and an incident that appeared to be a recovery of bodies turned to a frantic rescue operation amid rain, heavy winds and crashing waves.
The car’s doors were jammed shut, so firefighters were forced to cut the victims out of the wreckage using ‘jaws of life’ tools.
No known motive
The children were pulled out of the back window and brought up the cliff by hand in a rescue basket using the rope system.
They were rushed to the hospital by ambulance with musculoskeletal injuries.
Their parents had traumatic injuries and had to be hoisted by a helicopter that flew them to the hospital, the battalion chief said.
No immediate motive as to why the father with seemingly everything to live for may have sought to kill himself, his wife and their two young children.