San Mateo authorities locate a Tesla that crashed down a cliff off the Pacific Coast Highway on January 2. Dharmesh Patel has been charged with three counts of attempted murder in the crash. Photo courtesy of San Mateo Sheriff's Office
May 19 (UPI) -- A California radiologist purposely drove off a portion of the state's iconic Pacific Coast Highway dubbed the "Devil's Slide" with his family inside on Jan. 2, his wife told the California Highway Patrol in documents released this week.
Dharmesh Patel, a local physician, his wife and two children managed to survive the fall of more than 200 feet, and emergency crews had to cut them out of their demolished Tesla. Patel remains in jail without bail and faces a hearing in June.
"He drove off. He's depressed. He's a doctor," Patel's wife told a patrol officer, according to the documents. "He said he was going to drive off the cliff. He drove off on purpose."
Witnesses said it did not appear that Patel, who was behind the wheel of the vehicle at the time of the crash, braked before the vehicle plunged down the cliff.
A security camera that caught the Tesla driving off the road and the cliff showed the Tesla slowing down before turning right onto the cliff, the highway patrol said.
"The Tesla then takes a gradual right turn, plunging off the cliffside. There is no indication of attempts to brake or to turn the Tesla in a different direction," the document said.
Patel, who worked at the Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills, Calif., earlier entered "not guilty" pleas to three counts of attempted murder. He will have a hearing on June 12 where the judge will determine whether to have a trial.
Patel told investigators he felt down about the world but was not depressed. When detectives asked if he was suicidal, he said, "Not like a plan, not usually."