Man who drove Tesla off cliff with family inside charged with attempted murder


Father arrested after driving Tesla off cliff

Father arrested for allegedly intentionally driving Tesla off cliff


The man who police say deliberately drove his Tesla over a cliff with three other passengers has been charged with three counts of attempted murder, court documents showed. All four occupants managed to survive the 250-foot plunge off a cliff in San Mateo County, California.

Dharmesh Patel is accused of driving his car off Highway 1 with the explicit intention of killing a 41-year-old passenger, a 7-year-old passenger and a 4-year-old passenger. Prosecutors have not said who the other three occupants were, but California Highway Patrol (CHP) identified them as Patel’s wife, daughter and son, respectively. Their names have not been released.

Two of the three counts have enhancements for domestic violence, the court documents show.

California Car Falls Off Cliff
This image from video provided by San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office shows a Tesla vehicle that plunged off a Northern California cliff along the Pacific Coast Highway, Monday, Jan. 2, 2023, near an area known as Devil’s Slide, leaving four people injured.

San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office via AP

All four occupants were hospitalized with serious injuries after the Jan. 2 crash.

Rescuers initially hailed the family’s survival as a “miracle” after the Tesla sedan plummeted down a notorious cliffside along the Pacific Coast Highway near an area called Devil’s Slide that’s known for fatal wrecks.

Firefighters were forced to cut the family out of the wreckage. They used a rope system to haul the children up the cliff in a rescue basket while the parents were hoisted by helicopter.

Patel was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder one day after the crash, while he was still hospitalized. 

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


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