The doctor and father accused of intentionally driving his Tesla off a California cliff with his family inside has been released from a hospital and sent to jail – as investigators explore whether mechanical problems led to the crash.
Dharmesh Patel, 41, who is being held without bail, could be arraigned Monday afternoon if the San Mateo District Attorney’s Office decides to charge him with attempted murder and child abuse.
Meanwhile, District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe last week said investigators also are examining the Tesla Model Y to rule out the possibility of a mechanical problem.
“Did the brakes fail? Were the brakes working? Were there any other mechanical malfunctions that would have led to him not being able to stop the vehicle?” Wagstaffe told the Los Angeles Times.
“We’re having the car looked at from top to bottom,” he told the paper.
Patel, a radiologist at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Los Angeles, is accused of intentionally driving his electric car 250 feet off the notorious section of the Pacific Coast Highway known as the “Devil’s Slide” on Jan. 2.
A motive has not been released, though the California Highway Patrol “developed probable cause to believe this incident was an intentional act,” officials have said.
Firefighters were forced to cut the family, including Patel’s 41-year-old wife, Neha, 7-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son, out of the wreckage.
The case shocked neighbors, who described the Patels as an “idyllic” family that lived at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac in Pasadena.
With Post wires