Man Accused Of Driving His Tesla Over A Cliff With His Family Inside Won't Face Charges

Image: Sgt. Brian Moore (AP)
Image: Sgt. Brian Moore (AP)

After a January 2023 crash off of California’s Pacific Coast Highway in which a Tesla plunged off a cliff with a family inside, a court has determined the driver won’t face any charges,NBC News reports.

In January 2023, Dharmesh Patel allegedly drove he and his family off the side of a 330-foot cliff on Pacific Coast Highway in their Tesla Model S. Amazingly everyone survived. Patel was arrested and pleaded not guilty to three counts of attempted murder.

Now, just over a year later, a court has determined Patel won’t stand trial due to mental health. San Mateo Superior Court Judge Susan Jakubowski granted Patel a mental health diversion after evidence showed that he has a “major depressive disorder.” In a release, the court said, “Weighing all factors, the court determined the defendant was suitable and granted the defense request for mental health diversion.” District Attorney Stephen Wagstaffe opposed the court’s ruling, asking the court to send Patel to trial. Ultimately, Wagstaffe accepted the court’s decision. “Under California’s diversion law, the court makes the decision,” he told NBC News.


Just because Patel won’t stand trial, though, doesn’t mean he’s getting off completely scot-free:

Patel will remain in jail for “several weeks” before he is released to his parents’ home in San Mateo County, which he has been ordered not to leave, according to the district attorney’s office. The court has also ordered that Patel report to court once a week for progress reports, that he test twice a week “to show medication compliance,” that he abstain from alcohol and drugs and that he surrender his driver’s license and passport.

Still, that’s not exactly much of a punishment considering he nearly killed his wife and kids along with himself. Must be nice to be rich.

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