A father has been arrested after intentionally driving the Tesla that was carrying his wife and two young children off a steep cliff in California. All four family members miraculously survived the 250ft plunge.
Doctor Dharmesh Arvind Patel, 41, of Pasadena, is facing charges of attempted murder and child abuse after California Highway Patrol (CHP) determined that the act was intentional, reports the Daily Mail.
“Based on the evidence collected, investigators developed probable cause to believe this incident was an intentional act,” said CHP in a press release, but they did not give further information about what led to this conclusion.
Patel suffered non-life-threatening injuries and will be taken to the San Mateo County Jail after he is released from the hospital. His wife, Neha, 41, and his children also suffered severe injuries that are not life-threatening.
CHP first received calls about a vehicle going over the cliffside at around 10:50 am on Monday. When emergency responders arrived on the scene, they discovered the car approximately 250-300 ft down the cliff. All the occupants in the vehicle were conscious.
Robin Johnson, an eyewitness, told NBC Bay Area that she had seen the vehicle moments before the incident driving extremely fast towards an exit in the wrong direction.
“And I can see in my rear-view mirror this car just go over the edge and straight down,” said Johnson. At that point, she called 911.
While attempting to recover the vehicle, first responders saw movement in the front seat and a dramatic rescue mission ensued.
The children were freed first and hoisted up the cliffside to the road using ropes. Then, in footage shared online by CalFire, helicopter pilots can be seen hovering over the rocks and water waiting for the parents to be freed. The whole family was taken to Stanford Medical Center.
"That stretch of road, this is a fairly regular occurrence for us — and, typically, most people succumb their injuries in an accident like this," Brian Pottenger, a battalion chief with the Coastside Fire Protection District told Entrepreneur, before adding that it was an enormous surprise that the family survived.
The investigation is ongoing so no further information is being released at this time, said the CHP.