On Monday evening, a shocking incident occurred near San Francisco when a Tesla drove off the Devil’s Slide cliff, a notoriously dangerous drop known for similar accidents. The car was driven by 41-year-old Dharmesh Patel, a radiologist, who had his 41-year-old wife, seven-year-old daughter, and four-year-old son in the car with him at the time.
Initial reports suggested that the Tesla may have been in self-driving mode at the time of the incident, but authorities now believe that the crash was an intentional act committed by Patel.
When rescue crews arrived at the scene, they found the Tesla destroyed at the bottom of the 300ft (91m) cliff. It took them three hours to extract the four occupants from the vehicle, with the children being rescued first due to their minor injuries. The adults, who were more seriously injured, were then hoisted out of the car using a helicopter. Battalion Chief of the San Mateo-Santa Cruz Unit, Brian Pottenger, stated that the children had been secured properly in car seats, which likely saved their lives in the violent crash.
Dharmesh Patel is currently in hospital and is reported to be in a stable condition. He is facing attempted murder and child abuse charges and is anticipated to be moved to San Mateo County Jail in Redwood City, LA once he is discharged from hospital. The investigation is still ongoing so it is not known what caused Patel to drive the car off the cliff.
California Highway Patrol issued a statement which 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.”