Man Who Drove Family Off Cliff in Tesla Model Y Avoids Trial

A California radiologist accused of deliberately driving his Tesla Model Y off a 330 foot cliff with his family inside will not face trial. Dharmesh Patel has instead been granted a mental health diversion due to his diagnosis of major depressive disorder, the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office announced this week.

On January 2, 2023, Dharmesh Patel, a radiologist from Pasadena, drove his white 2021 Tesla Model Y off the Pacific Coast Highway at Devil’s Slide in San Mateo County. Miraculously, Patel, his wife Neha, and their two children, aged 4 and 7 at the time, survived the crash with serious injuries. The crash drew significant media attention, both for the fact that Patel deliberately drove the Model Y off the cliff, and that he and his family survived the 330 foot fall.

Patel initially claimed the car had tire issues, but was subsequently charged with three counts of attempted murder.

On June 25, 2024, San Mateo Superior Court Judge Susan Jakubowski ruled that Patel will not face trial, and was eligible for a mental health diversion program, NBC News reports. The court cited evidence of Patel’s major depressive disorder, which had a significant psychotic component at the time of the incident. According to the court, a proposed treatment plan adequately addresses Patel’s needs.

The decision to grant a mental health diversion was met with opposition from the District Attorney’s Office. District Attorney Stephen Wagstaffe expressed concerns about public safety and the appropriateness of the diversion for such a severe case.

However, under California law, the final decision rests with the court.

Patel will remain in jail for several weeks before being released to his parents’ home in San Mateo County, under strict conditions. He must report to court weekly for progress updates, undergo bi-weekly medication compliance tests, abstain from alcohol and drugs, and surrender his driver’s license and passport.

If Patel successfully completes the two-year mental health diversion program, the charges against him will be dismissed. Should he fail to meet the treatment requirements, he will return to the criminal justice system to face the original charges.

Patel’s next court appearance is scheduled for July 1, 2024, when the details of his release will be finalized.

The wife of Dharmesh Patel, Neha Patel, who was seriously injured in the crash, has been a significant voice in the case. She described her husband’s mental state to rescuers, explaining that he had been suffering from depression and had expressed suicidal thoughts. In court, Neha asked for leniency, stressing the importance of her husband’s presence in their family’s life.

Previous Article

Tesla owners in Ontario face LTE connectivity outage

Next Article

Tesla Receives PT Hike Amid Company’s Strength Ahead of Q2 Report

You might be interested in …