Sgt. Brian Moore/San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office/Associated Press
- The wife of a man accused of driving a Tesla off a cliff said he “intentionally” did it, the DA said.
- The woman shouted to medics that her husband “intentionally drove the car over,” the DA said.
- Dharmesh Patel was formally charged on Monday with three counts of attempted murder.
The wife of a California doctor who has been accused of purposefully driving his Tesla off a cliff in the state with his family inside screamed to rescuers at the scene that her husband “intentionally drove the car over” the edge, a local district attorney said.
“She shouted that out” to medics as they rescued her from the vehicle, San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe told Insider on Tuesday of Neha Patel, the wife of Dharmesh Patel.
“She just said to the paramedics that he intentionally drove the car over the cliff,” Wagstaffe said.
A lawyer for Dharmesh Patel did not immediately return a request for comment by Insider on Tuesday.
Dharmesh Patel was formally charged on Monday with three counts of attempted murder. He is accused of intentionally driving a Tesla off a notorious 250-foot cliff in Northern California with his wife and two young kids inside on January 2.
The suspect, a radiologist at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Los Angeles, and the passengers miraculously survived and were rescued via helicopter after the vehicle plunged off a cliff known as Devil’s Slide.
“We have concluded that the evidence supports the fact that he intentionally drove his vehicle over that cliff and thereby obviously endangering not just his wife and two children, but his own life,” Wagstaffe told reporters on Monday.
The district attorney added, “By some miracle that I don’t understand, all of them have survived. I’m glad for that but it doesn’t change what we’ve charged him with.”
A Tesla plunged off a 250-foot cliff on January 2.
Wagstaffe told Insider that surveillance footage of the incident showed the Tesla coming out of a tunnel, going up a hill, and “making a sharp right turn and disappearing going up the cliff.”
Witness accounts were “consistent” with what the surveillance footage showed, like how there “does not appear to be any brake lights or anything like that,” according to Wagstaffe.
The district attorney’s office has not yet spoken to the suspect’s wife, who remains hospitalized, said Wagstaffe.
The couple’s two children, a 7-year-old girl and a 4-year-old boy, have been released from the hospital and are in the care of a family member, according to Wagstaffe.