Dad accused of intentionally driving Tesla off 250ft cliff with family inside

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Dad accused of intentionally driving Tesla off 250ft cliff with family inside
Dad accused of intentionally driving Tesla off 250ft cliff with family inside

A doctor has been accused of attempted murder after he allegedly drove a Tesla with his family inside off the edge of a cliff.

The car tumbled 250ft down coming to rest on a rocky outcrop just metres from the sea.

Rescue teams have described the fact none of the family were killed when the car came off the stretch of road known as the Devil's Slide in Northern California as an "absolute miracle".

Dharmesh Patel, a 41-year-old doctor from Pasadena, will be charged with attempted murder and child abuse once he is out of hospital, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) said in a statement.

He had been driving with his wife and two children, a seven-year-old girl and a four-year-old boy, along a dangerous part of the Pacific Coast Highway on Monday December 2.

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Dad accused of intentionally driving Tesla off 250ft cliff with family insideEmergency services at the top of the cliff (Uncredited/AP/REX/Shutterstock)

All four survived although the two adults were rushed to hospital in critical condition.

CHP's statement read: “CHP investigators worked throughout the night interviewing witnesses and gathering evidence from the scene.

“Based on the evidence collected, investigators developed probable cause to believe this incident was an intentional act.”

Patel is listed as a radiologist at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Neighbour Sarah Walker told KABC. “They’re like ideal neighbours. It seemed like they had a great holiday, they went to go see both parents. It just seemed very happy and great."

Dad accused of intentionally driving Tesla off 250ft cliff with family insideThe adults had to be airlifted out from the wreck (Uncredited/AP/REX/Shutterstock)

As it fell the car seemed to have flipped a few times before landing on it wheels.

Rescuers have said the fact none of the passengers were killed was quite extraordinary.

“We go there all the time for cars over the cliff and they never live. This was an absolute miracle,” said Brian Pottenger, a battalion chief for Coastside Fire Protection District/Cal Fire.

Crashes along Devil’s Slide, a steep, rocky and winding coastal area about 15 miles south of San Francisco that’s between Pacifica and Montara, rarely end with survivors.

All four were conscious and alert when rescuers arrived.

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Dad accused of intentionally driving Tesla off 250ft cliff with family insideThe car wreck at the base of the 75m cliff (Uncredited/AP/REX/Shutterstock)

The road’s conditions were also not believed to be a factor in the crash. There was no guardrail at the spot where the sedan went off the cliff.

Witnesses called 911 around 10:15 a.m. and the crews set up rope system from the highway to lower firefighters down the cliff, the battalion chief said.

At the same time, other firefighters watching the sedan through binoculars suddenly noticed movement — a sign that at least one person was still alive.

“Every one of us was shocked when we saw movement out of the front windshield,” Pottenger said.

Dad accused of intentionally driving Tesla off 250ft cliff with family insideRescue teams are seen at the scene (Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

The incident turned from what had been likely a recovery of bodies to a rescue operation that took several hours amid constant rain, heavy winds, slick roads and crashing waves.

The damage to the car made rescue particularly difficult as the doors had been smashed against the cliff and jammed shut.

Firefighters were forced to cut the victims out of the car using the so-called “jaws of life” tools.

Crews pulled the kids out of the back window and brought them up the cliff by hand in a rescue basket using the rope system. They were rushed to the hospital by ambulance with injuries.

Charlie Jones

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15.07.2024, 17:44 • Investigation