Tesla Model Y Driver Charged with Three Counts of Attempted Murder

On Monday, four weeks after a Tesla Model Y plunged 250 feet off a cliff at Devil's Slide, injuring the driver's wife and two young children, prosecutors charged the driver, 41-year-old Dharmesh A. Patel, of Pasadena, with three counts of attempted murder.[0] Two of those counts have domestic violence and great bodily harm enhancements, according to court records.[1]

Questions were raised in the wake of the crash as to whether mechanical failure was a factor and if Tesla's self-driving mode was involved.[1] However, California Highway Patrol investigators quickly found that wasn't an issue and shifted the probe's focus to Patel, a doctor from Pasadena.[1]

District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said investigators are also looking to rule out any issues with the car that could have caused the accident, including issues with the Tesla's brakes. Previously, the authorities had stated that Autopilot and Full Self-Driving, two driver assist features from Tesla, were not seen to be a cause of the occurrence.[2]

The rescue team was initially astonished that the family had survived when their car plummeted in an area near San Francisco, which is notorious for fatal accidents.[3] Fire Chief Brian Pottenger told reporters: “We go there all the time for cars over the cliff and they never live. This was an absolute miracle.”[4]

Patel was booked into jail where he was being held without bail.[5] No indication was given by the office as to when he was discharged from the hospital. As of Monday, it was not clear if Patel had secured or been assigned a defense lawyer.[6] It was not specified by the District office when he was discharged from the hospital.

Patel faces three counts of attempted murder with enhancements for great bodily injury and domestic violence.[7] Patel's two charges have been intensified due to the alleged domestic violence and the potential for great bodily injury.[8]

In addition, a PTI report stated that District attorney Steve Wagstaffe mentioned that investigators are also investigating the Tesla Model Y to determine if there was a mechanical issue with the vehicle.

He stated that the DA's office was in the initial stages of the investigation.[9] Was the brake system operational? Did it fail? Could any other mechanical issue have prevented him from stopping the car?[10] In an interview, Wagstaffe stated.[10] We are having the car inspected from head to toe.[4]

0. “Attempted murder: Devil's Slide Tesla cliff driver charged | Crime | sfexaminer.com” San Francisco Examiner, 30 Jan. 2023, https://www.sfexaminer.com/news/crime/attempted-murder-devils-slide-tesla-cliff-driver-charged/article_556f5b04-a0dd-11ed-bc7e-4ff3a271b267.html

1. “Tesla driver is charged with attempted murder after allegedly plunging his family off a California cliff on purpose” NBC News, 30 Jan. 2023, https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/tesla-driver-charged-attempted-murder-allegedly-plunging-family-califo-rcna68173

2. “Tesla driver taken from hospital to jail without bail after being accused of intentionally driving his family off a cliff” Yahoo Entertainment, 30 Jan. 2023, https://www.yahoo.com/entertainment/tesla-driver-taken-hospital-jail-181249172.html

3. “Father in California crash who ‘drove Tesla off cliff with family inside’ held for attempted murder” The Independent, 28 Jan. 2023, https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/crime/tesla-driver-dharmesh-patel-california-cliff-b2271006.html

4. “Dad Accused of Driving Tesla Off 300-Foot Cliff with Family Inside Charged with Attempted First-Degree Murder” Law & Crime, 30 Jan. 2023, https://lawandcrime.com/crime/dad-accused-of-driving-tesla-off-300-foot-cliff-with-family-inside-charged-with-attempted-first-degree-murder/

5. “California man charged with attempted murder after driving Tesla off cliff with family inside” Washington Examiner, 30 Jan. 2023, https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/crime/california-man-charged-murder-driving-tesla-off-cliff

6. “Driver in California cliff crash that injured 4 charged with attempted murder” KCRA Sacramento, 30 Jan. 2023, https://www.kcra.com/article/driver-in-california-cliff-crash-that-injured-4-charged-with-attempted-murder/42713099

7. “Tesla Devil’s Slide crash: Driver charged with attempted murder; wife was “screaming” to paramedics, DA says” The Mercury News, 30 Jan. 2023, https://www.mercurynews.com/2023/01/30/driver-charged-with-attempted-murder-in-devils-slide-crash-that-seriously-injured-wife-children

8. “Tesla driver who drove family over Devil's Slide cliff charged with attempted murder” KTVU FOX 2 San Francisco, 30 Jan. 2023, https://www.ktvu.com/news/tesla-driver-who-drove-family-over-devils-slide-cliff-charged-with-attempted-murder

9. “Doctor accused of trying to kill his wife and children by driving Tesla off a cliff booked into jail” Daily Mail, 30 Jan. 2023, https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-11692751/Doctor-accused-trying-kill-wife-children-driving-Tesla-cliff-booked-jail.html

10. “Tesla driver suspected of intentionally driving off cliff gets booked into jail” TESLARATI, 30 Jan. 2023, https://www.teslarati.com/tesla-driver-intentionally-driving-off-cliff-booked-into-jail