SAN MATEO, Calif. - The Southern California doctor accused of trying to kill his family in January by driving his Tesla off a cliff at Devil’s Slide in San Mateo County blamed the crash on tire problems, court documents revealed.
Radiologist Dharmesh Patel, 41, of Pasadena, told investigators that he had experienced tire troubles on his 2021 Tesla Model Y that caused the crash on Jan. 2, according to documents from San Mateo County Superior Court.
His wife, however, made repeated statements to authorities that he was depressed and tried to kill her, their two children and himself by plunging over the cliff, according to other court records.
Patel said he was traveling from Belmont to Montara and had to stop at three gas stations along the way to put air in his left rear tire. He said the Tesla's sensor light signaled that there was low pressure in the tire.
Patel told investigators that he was going the speed limit along Highway 1 when the vehicle started to "feel different," court documents read. Patel said he drove the car onto a "dirt path" along the highway to check the tire air pressure before the car went over the cliff.
However, Patel's wife recounted a different story to authorities, court documents showed.
The woman said her husband deliberately drove off the cliff, with her and the couple's two children inside.
"He drove off. He's depressed. He's a doctor. He said he was going to drive off the cliff. He purposely drove off," the woman allegedly told an officer as she was being airlifted to Stanford Hospital.
Investigators asked Patel if he was depressed, to which he replied "not really." He added that he "felt down because times were down in the world, the war, and the drugs."
When asked if he was suicidal, Patel said, "not like a plan, not usually."
Prosecutors concluded that Patel willfully drove the vehicle over the cliff in an attempt to kill his wife and two children ages 4 and 7. The Tesla plunged a treacherous 330 feet below.
Miraculously, the entire family survived.
Patel was charged with three counts of attempted murder and domestic violence related to the crash.
Patel's wife has since said she did not want her husband to be prosecuted, his defense attorney revealed in February.