Patel, a radiologist, wife and their children — daughter, 7, and son, 4 — survive the plunge.
An Indian American doctor, who was arrested after driving off his Tesla into a 250 feet cliff Monday, will be tried for attempted murder and child abuse, according to the California Highway Patrol. The 41-year-old Dharmesh Arvind Patel, his wife Neha, also 41, and their two children — 7-year-old daughter and 4-year-old-son — survived the fall off the picturesque Highway 1 at Devil’s Slide in San Mateo County, 20 miles to the south of San Francisco.
Police believe Patel, a radiologist at the Providence Holy Cross Medical Center, deliberately tried to kill himself and his family members. He was arrested while being treated at Stanford Hospital.
All the four members of the family are reported to be in critical condition but they are expected to survive.
Police have not revealed the names of the children, nor have they disclosed a motive.
“Based on the evidence collected, investigators developed probable cause to believe this incident was an intentional act,” the Highway Patrol said.
USA Today reported that troopers were arrived at the scene after a call from the vehicle late Monday morning.
The two children were rescued by firefighters who rappelled down the cliff. The firefighters pulled the children, who were on the back seat of Tesla, out of the car through the back window. They were lifted up the cliff in a basket using a rope.
Dharmesh and Neha Patel were rescued by a helicopter.
Coastside Fire Protection District/Cal Fire battalion Chief Brian Pottenger told the paper that the Tesla flipped before landing on the wheels.
“We go there all the time for cars over the cliff and they never live,” he said. “This was an absolute miracle.”
The Los Angeles Times reported that the Patel family had left for holidays in Northern California on Christmas, December 24.
Neighbors told the paper that the Patels, who moved to their Pasadena home five years ago, were very friendly toward them. Roger Newmark, a long-time resident in the neighborhood, told the paper: “They’re a beautiful, idyllic family, no indication of issues. It’s so strange because he is a great guy. Maybe it was a moment of insanity.”
On Dec. 24, before he left for Northern California for the holidays, Patel even brought his next-door neighbors a poinsettia plant — which is growing in their living room now.