Man Who Drove Tesla Off Cliff Charged With Tried Homicide

A photo of three rescue workers examining the mangled Tesla at the bottom of a cliff.

California prosecutors charged Dharmesh Patel, a 41-year-old radiologist from Southern California, with three counts of tried homicide for driving a Tesla together with his household inside off a 250-foot cliff earlier this month.

On Monday, San Mateo County district lawyer Steve Wagstaffe stated his workplace charged Patel with tried homicide after reviewing statements from his spouse, who was within the automotive and stays within the hospital, folks driving behind Patel, and movies from the tunnel close to the incident on Jan. 2. The fees included particular allegations of home violence and inflicting nice bodily hurt, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

“We do consider the proof establishes the required intent to kill,” Wagstaffe stated.

Patel appeared earlier than San Mateo County Superior Court docket Decide Jeffrey Finigan on Monday afternoon and was denied bail because of the “potential hazard to members of the family,” in accordance with the Chronicle. Finigan additionally ordered Patel to not harass his household. The radiologist sustained “critical decrease physique accidents” because of the incident and was taken to the San Mateo County Jail.

Though there have been preliminary questions over whether or not the Tesla’s self-driving mode was activated, given the corporate’s harmful monitor file of accidents involving its autopilot options, the California Freeway Patrol stated earlier this month that the automotive didn’t look like the wrongdoer. Wagstaffe, the district lawyer, on Monday stated the Tesla had not been in a self-driving mode through the crash and that investigators had to this point discovered no issues with the automotive.

A photo from above of the white Tesla crumpled at the bottom of the cliff.

Witnesses instructed investigators the brake lights on Patel’s Tesla weren’t on when the automotive immediately made a tough proper and dove off the 250-foot cliff referred to as Satan’s Slide. The Tesla landed upright on its wheels and all 4 family members had been rescued. Nonetheless, the couple’s 7-year-old daughter maintained critical accidents. Their 4-year-old son, in the meantime, walked away from the crash with solely bruises.

Consultants had been surprised the household survived, telling the New York Instances that it was “very uncommon for anybody to outlive an accident of this magnitude on this space.”

Why precisely Patel determined to drive the Tesla off the cliff remains to be an open query. Wagstaffe stated the district lawyer’s workplace was nonetheless investigating.

“We’re trying into what led as much as this. Was there melancholy or anything?”Wagstaffe stated, per the Chronicle. “It wasn’t simply that he was attempting to kill them, he was attempting to kill himself too.”

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