California man jailed on suspicion of attempted murder after Tesla plunges off cliff at Devils Slide

MONTARA, California– The driver of a car that fell 76 meters from a treacherous cliff in northern California, injuring his two young children and his wife, has been discharged from the hospital and jailed on suspicion of attempted murder and child abuse, authorities said on Friday.

Dharmesh A. Patel, 41, was taken to jail where he was being held without bail and could be charged Monday afternoon if the San Mateo County Attorney’s Office decides to file criminal charges, that agency said.

The bureau did not say when he was discharged from the hospital.

It wasn’t immediately clear if Patel had an attorney speaking on his behalf.

The Pasadena man was seriously injured when the Tesla sedan went over the bluff at Devils Slide along the Pacific Coast Highway on January 2.

Rescue workers initially hailed the family’s survival as a miracle after the limo crashed in an area about 15 miles south of San Francisco known for deadly wreckage.

Firefighters were forced to cut the family, including Patel’s 41-year-old wife, 7-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son, from the rubble.

Patel was later arrested after California Highway Patrol investigators “developed probable grounds for believing that this incident was a premeditated act,” the agency said.

However, District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said this week that investigators are also examining the Tesla Model Y to rule out the possibility of a mechanical problem.

“Have the brakes failed? Did the brakes work? Were there other mechanical failures that would have prevented him from stopping the vehicle?” Wagstaffe told the Los Angeles Times. “We let the car be looked at from top to bottom.”

Copyright © 2023 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. California man jailed on suspicion of attempted murder after Tesla plunges off cliff at Devils Slide

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