Newly released papers show that the wife of a California radiologist who is accused of driving his Tesla off a 330-foot cliff with her and their two young children inside told authorities that he did it “on purpose.”
Dr. Dharmesh Patel, who is 41 years old, is accused of driving off the Pacific Coast Highway and over a hill at Devil’s Slide in San Mateo County on January 2. He is charged with three counts of attempted murder. In February, he said he wasn’t guilty.
All of them somehow made it. At the time, the two young children were 7 and 4 years old.
Documents in the case that were made public on Wednesday show that Patel’s wife told the police more than once that he drove on purpose off the cliff.
She told a paramedic who was helping get the family out of the crushed car that Patel “had driven off the side of the road on purpose,” according to the court statement. “She said this more than once.”
The court papers said that Patel was next to her and that he made sense, but that he “did not say anything unless he was spoken to.”
A second nurse at the scene of the crash said that Patel’s wife was very worried about her children’s safety. She told the paramedic that “the defendant drove the vehicle off the cliff on purpose and that he was trying to kill them all,” according to the documents. The rescuer said, “She said this about three times.”
The tweet below verifies the news:
The wife of the California radiologist accused of intentionally driving his Tesla off a cliff with her and their two young children inside early this year told authorities he plunged off the precipice “on purpose,” newly unsealed documents reveal. https://t.co/rifNJJkE6t
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) May 19, 2023
Patel’s wife also told an officer of the California Highway Patrol, “He left. He’s feeling sad. He is a physician. He said he would drive off the edge of the cliff. He chose to drive away.”
The highway police also talked to people who saw the Tesla right before it went over the edge.
The papers say that two witnesses said the Tesla “accelerated” as it got closer to the cliff, and none of the witnesses said the driver tried to stop before he fell off the edge.
A security camera nearby also caught the moment the Tesla drove off the edge of the cliff. It showed the Tesla following the lines on the road, slowing down, and turning right onto the cliff.
“The Tesla then slowly turns to the right and goes over the edge of the cliff. “There are no signs that the Tesla was tried to be stopped or turned in a different direction,” the filing said.
What Patel said about the crash was also clearer after the papers were made public.
When he was questioned at the hospital, the papers said, “he said he had pulled over to check his tire pressure, which the Tesla had told him was low earlier that morning.”
Steve Wagstaffe, the district attorney for San Mateo County, said Thursday, “We do not think that Mr. Patel’s statement is consistent with the facts.”
The unsealed documents also showed that when Patel was asked by detectives if he was depressed, he said “Not really.” But he said that he was sad because of “the war, drugs, and crazy stuff.”
In the filing, it said that police talked to Patel’s family. His sister said she talked to Patel the night before and remembered that he was sad about the war and other news stories. He said he was afraid about his children’s future because of what was going on in the world, according to the documents.
When authorities got to the scene of the crash, they were shocked to find people still alive in the badly damaged car.
Officials from Cal Fire said that it was very “rare” for anyone to escape such a steep fall. One expert said that the family’s escape was “kind of a miracle, given how bad the hit was.”
After it went off Devil’s Slide on January 2, about 20 miles south of San Francisco, the white Tesla Model Y was clearly damaged on all sides.
The Car Turned Over
The car turned over and landed on its wheels. Firefighters had to rappel down to the scene, get the family out, and call for planes to lift them to safety.
According to the papers that were made public, Patel’s wife was hospitalized in serious condition and stayed there for more than a month before she was sent to a treatment center outside of the hospital.
The papers said that their daughter’s hand was broken and that their son had a cut on the back of his head. When the kids got out of jail, they were given to the defendant’s sister to take care of.
On June 12, Patel will have a preliminary hearing in court. Two of the three charges of attempted murder include extra claims of domestic abuse and wanting to hurt the person very badly.
Wagstaffe said that at the hearing, a judge will decide if the proof shows that the charges of attempted murder are true.
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The San Francisco Chronicle said that Patel’s lawyer, Joshua Bentley, told a judge in February that Patel’s wife did not want him to be charged.
Wagstaffe said Thursday that Patel’s wife talked to police after the accident and that the next time she will talk about it will be at the preliminary hearing.
Thursday, emails and phone calls to Patel’s lawyer went ignored. On Thursday, no one picked up when Patel’s phone number was called.
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