Driver of Tesla Model Y Who Drove Off 250-Foot CA Cliff Pleads Not Guilty


Dharmesh Patel of Pasadena, CA, the man behind the wheel of the Tesla Model Y that plunged 250 feet off a cliff at Devil’s Slide in California, pleaded not guilty in court Feb. 9.

Patel is charged with three counts of attempted murder and domestic violence.

Among Patel’s victims were his wife, as well as his 7-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son. Rescuers who responded to the incident said the kids were able to escape the 250-foot drop with mild to moderate injuries. Patel and his wife had more serious injuries.

On Feb. 9, Patel was ordered by a judge to remain in custody with no bail. He was also given a no contact order, which prevents him from contacting his wife and two children.

Prosecutors and the California Highway Patrol said on Jan. 2, Patel was driving his Model Y near Devil’s Slide when he steered the vehicle off the road. Patel’s alleged actions resulted in the Model Y falling off the cliff and crashing on its wheels onto a beach. Cameras in the area reportedly showed the Model Y did not engage its brake lights as it headed to the cliff.

The family miraculously survived.

In a statement to KRON4, District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said Patel’s wife was screaming when she was reached by the paramedics. She also made a statement immediately.

“She did make a statement. She said, very simply, ‘This was not an accident,'” Wagstaffe said.

Wagstaffe said while the Tesla Model Y was crushed on all sides, “by some miracle that I don’t understand, all of them have survived.”

Wagstaffe also said they are currently looking into Patel’s motive. “We don’t know the motive. That is the big question right now. But we will continue to look into that, why he would do this,” he said.

A defense attorney said Patel’s wife reportedly does not want to prosecute her husband. Chief Deputy District Attorney Sean Gallagher, however, said there seems to be enough evidence to prove the charges against Patel.

“Regardless of whether she is cooperative, we believe we have sufficient evidence to prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt.” He added the case is a “very dynamic situation whenever you have this violence within a family setting."

Prior to the accident, Patel was working as a doctor at the Providence Holy Cross Medical Center. If found guilty, he may face life in prison.

We thank Teslarati for reprint permission.

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