Not Guilty Plea by Indian American Radiologist Who ‘Intentionally’ Drove Tesla Off California Cliff With Family Inside
- Dharmesh Arvind Patel, 41, of Pasadena, was charged with three counts of attempted murder in connection with the Jan. 2 crash that involved his wife and two children.
The Indian American radiologist accused of intentionally driving a Tesla carrying his wife and two young children off a 250-foot seaside cliff in California last month has pleaded not guilty to charges of attempted murder. Dharmesh Arvind Patel, 41, of Pasadena, was charged with three counts of attempted murder in connection with the Jan. 2 crash that involved his 41-year-old wife and two children. Two of the counts have enhancements of domestic violence, great bodily injury, serious felony and prior felony, The Mercury News reported, citing the San Mateo County Superior Court. The crash occurred at “Devil’s Slide,” a scenic but treacherous part of California Highway 1.
Patel, who appeared in court on Feb. 9, wore an orange jail jumpsuit, a Mercury News report said. His hands were shackled, and “he stood quietly in the courtroom, showing little emotion while his attorney issued an across-the-board denial of the charges against him,” the report said. “He spoke only to waive his right to a key evidentiary hearing within 10 days, the report said, adding that his preliminary hearing was set for March 20.
A prosecutor told the court on Feb. 9 that while Patel’s wife, Neha, remains hospitalized, she has spoken to law enforcement officials, The Mercury News report said. The couple’s children have been released from hospitals and are living with relatives in the Bay Area. Several relatives were reportedly in court for the hearing, “though they left the courtroom quickly without issuing any statement,” the report added.
He was handed a no-contact order as well, forbidding him from communicating with his wife and children. It is a departure from an earlier hearing last month, when a judge denied prosecutors’ request to ban all communication between Patel and his wife and children, instead issuing a less-restrictive “no harassment” order.
San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe told the San Francisco Chronicle that after the crash, Neha Patel, who was still conscious when paramedics made it to the crushed car at the bottom of a steep cliff, started “screaming” about her husband’s “intentionality” to kill her and their two kids.