Northern California prosecutors on Monday filed attempted murder charges against a motorist who was behind the wheel of a Tesla that went over a cliff, nearly killing himself, his wife and two children.
Dharmesh Patel, 41, was charged with three counts of attempted murder, according to court documents filed by San Mateo County Deputy District Attorney Dominique Davis. Two of those charges include special allegations of domestic violence and intent to cause great bodily injury.
Patel is expected to appear before a San Mateo County judge later in the afternoon in connection with the Jan. 2 crash off Devil’s Slide, a roughly 250-foot cliff 20 miles south of San Francisco.
Patel, his wife, 41, and two children, 4 and 7, survived the horrific plunge — something one expert has described as “kind of a miracle, considering the impact severity.”
The crash initially raised some questions about Tesla’s self-driving mode and if mechanical failure played any role.
But California Highway Patrol investigators quickly found that wasn’t an issue and shifted the probe’s focus to Patel, a doctor from Pasadena.
The suspect remained hospitalized until late last week, when he was moved to jail ahead of the filing of charges on Monday, officials said.
Authorities have not publicly disclosed what the suspect’s motive could have been.
It wasn’t immediately known Monday if Patel had hired or been assigned a defense attorney.
No one on Monday answered a cellphone number that’s listed for Patel.