An Indian-American man has been charged with attempted murder and child abuse after he intentionally drove a sedan, with his wife and two children inside, off a 250-foot California cliff.
Dharmesh Arvind Patel, 40, of Pasadena, has been arrested, and will be booked into San Mateo County jail after his release from the hospital, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) said in a release on Tuesday.
The car was traveling south on State Route 1 when it went over the cliff at Devil’s Slide, south of the Tom Lantos Tunnels, and landed near the water’s edge.
It flipped and landed on its wheels, the NBC News reported.
The CHP said in a statement that it was alerted to “a vehicle over the side of the cliff on State Route-1” at around 10.50 a.m. on Monday.
Once the CHP and other responding agencies got to the scene, they saw a white Tesla that had plunged 250-300 feet off the cliff, the release said.
Authorities managed to reach the vehicle and recover two adults and two children, aged seven and four, who were rushed “to a local hospital with serious injuries”.
Brian Pottenger, the incident commander for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, told NBC News that it was acevery, very rare” for people to survive such a steep fall and that the children’s car seats may have saved their lives.
“Based on the evidence collected, investigators developed probable cause to believe this incident was an intentional act,” CHP said in a statement.
According to NBC, authorities intend to book Patel on three counts of attempted murder and two counts of child abuse.
The CHP added that at this stage they do not think the Tesla’s self-drive feature was a factor in the crash.