off a cliff on January 2 with his wife and two children inside the vehicle. All four miraculously survived and were hospitalized.
First responders who arrived at the scene on Jan. 2 noticed the white Tesla about 250 feet down the cliff and noticed victims still moving inside the vehicle.
Rescuers were able to pull the two children — a 7-year-old girl and a 4-year-old boy with musculoskeletal injuries — from the vehicle using a ‘jaws of life’ tool and pulled Patel and his wife from the vehicle’s windows.
Patel, 41, of Pasadena, is charged with three counts of attempted first-degree attempted murder, as well as enhancements for great bodily injury and domestic abuse, San Mateo District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said during a Monday press conference.
‘The evidence supports that he intentionally drove that vehicle over that cliff,’ San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said during a Monday press conference after Patel’s initial court hearing.
California officials believe Patel’s actions were ‘intentional’, as it is believed that the Tesla was not on autopilot at the time of the crash off the ‘Devil’s Slide’ cliff, south of the Tom Lantos tunnels on State Highway 1.
He has thus been released from the hospital and jailed on suspicion of attempted murder and child abuse, as he was transported to a San Mateo County jail from the hospital.
Appearing in court for the first time, a new mugshot has shown Dharmesh Patel with a bloodshot eye after he was transported to a San Mateo County’s Maguire Correctional Facility – where he is being held without bail as he faces first-degree attempted murder and child abuse charges.
He appeared disheveled wearing a red shirt with a bloody eye in a new mugshot from the prison, where he is being held without bail.
Prosecutors say Patel intentionally drove his Tesla off the deadly Devil’s Side Cliff in California, with his wife allegedly telling paramedics: ‘He tried to kill us.’
‘She said very simply this was not an accident. We do believe the evidence establishes the necessary intent to kill,’ San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe told the San Francisco Chronicle.
Patel was arrested after California Highway Patrol investigators ‘developed probable cause to believe this incident was an intentional act,’ the agency said.
But Wagstaffe said his office is still trying to determine why Patel drove off the cliff, noting that Patel has not spoken to investigators since the January 2 crash.
‘We’re looking into what led up to this. Was there depression or anything else?’ Wagstaffe said. ‘It wasn’t just that he was trying to kill them, he was trying to kill himself too.’
Robin Johnson, who called 911 after seeing the crash, recalled: ‘Wow, he’s driving extremely fast to take that exit. You’re not even supposed to be going up that way.
‘And I can see in my rear-view mirror this car just go over the edge and straight down.’
About 30 to 50 rescuers arrived at the scene, where it was initially assumed that anyone in the car must have been dead.
A helicopter and specialist teams were required to rappel down the cliff to the car. It was not until hours later that rescue teams discovered the four family members conscious and alert in the car.
The children were pulled out first, through a back window, and hauled up the cliff by hand in a rescue basket using a pulley.
The doctor and his wife were more seriously injured and had to be hoisted out by helicopter and were then flown directly to the hospital.
Neighbors expressed their shock after learning the allegations against Patel, describing their family as ‘idyllic’.
Roger Newmark, who lives several doors down from the family on a leafy Pasadena street, told CBS: ‘They’re the sweetest couple and they have the greatest two little kids.’
Patel works as a radiologist at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Pasadena, was transferred Monday to the San Mateo jail after he spent three weeks in a local hospital, having been seriously injured in the crash.