Emergency crews examine a crashed Tesla that drove off California's Pacific Coast Highway on January 2 with a family of four inside. The driver was charged Monday with three counts of attempted murder. Photo courtesy of San Mateo Sheriff's Office
Jan. 30 (UPI) -- Prosecutors in Northern California have filed attempted murder charges against a Southern California doctor who investigators say drove his Tesla off a cliff with his family inside.
Dharmesh Patel, 41, was charged with three counts of attempted murder Monday in connection with the Jan. 2 crash off of Devil's Slide cliff along Pacific Coast Highway, according to court documents filed by San Mateo County Deputy District Attorney Dominique Davis.
Two of the charges include special allegations of domestic violence and intent to cause great bodily injury.
"Investigators developed probable cause to believe this incident was an intentional act," California Highway Patrol said in a statement after the crash.
Patel, his wife and two children, ages 4 and 7, survived the 250-foot fall and crash which rescuers called an "absolute miracle."
"The damage to the vehicle would indicate that it hit and then flipped several times before landing on its wheels," Fire Incident Commander Brian Pottenge, of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection San Mateo-Santa Cruz Unit, said.
Statements from Patel's wife -- in addition to witness accounts from motorists driving behind the car and video from nearby surveillance cameras -- led to the attempted murder charges, San Mateo District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe told the San Francisco Chronicle.
Investigators have ruled out mechanical failure and Tesla's self-driving mode as the cause of the crash.
Patel's wife and two children have been released from the hospital.
Patel, who was a radiologist at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills, was also released from the hospital last week and moved to jail before being arraigned Monday in San Mateo Superior Court.
Prosecutors have not revealed a motive.