Driver Who Went Off Cliff With Family Pleads Not Guilty

Dharmesh Patel faces 3 counts of attempted murder
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 30, 2023 4:23 PM CST
Updated Feb 10, 2023 11:30 AM CST
Driver Who Went Off Cliff Faces Attempted Murder Charges
Emergency personnel respond to a vehicle that went over the side of Highway 1 on Jan. 2 in San Mateo County, Calif.   (Sgt. Brian Moore/San Mateo County Sheriff's Office via AP; File)
UPDATE Feb 10, 2023 11:30 AM CST

A man who drove off a California cliff in his Tesla with his wife and two young children aboard has pleaded not guilty to charges he did so deliberately. Dharmesh Patel, 41, of Pasadena, is accused of trying to murder his wife, his 7-year-old daughter, and his 4-year-old son, reports CBS News. All four survived the plunge, though the children were seriously injured. Prior to the crash, Patel had worked as a doctor at a medical center near Los Angeles. He remains held without bail.

Jan 30, 2023 4:23 PM CST

A California man who was driving a Tesla that plunged off a cliff with his family inside has been charged with attempted murder. Prosecutors filed three counts against Dharmesh Patel, 41, of Pasadena, plus great bodily injury and domestic violence enhancements Monday in San Mateo County, the San Jose Mercury News reports. His wife and children survived the 250-foot fall from the Pacific Coast Highway, landing in the rocks alongside the Pacific Ocean, but were hospitalized in serious condition.

Patel was booked into jail after being released from a hospital Friday and is being held without bail, per KABC. Police first called the family's survival a miracle. The California Highway Patrol later said there was reason to believe the Jan. 2 plunge wasn't an accident. Investigators said that the vehicle is being examined, but that it doesn't appear the Tesla's automated features contributed to the crash. (More attempted murder stories.)

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