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California doctor faces attempted murder charge after driving Tesla off a cliff with his family inside

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A doctor is facing attempted murder and child abuse charges after he ‘intentionally’ drove his Tesla off a cliff with his family inside.

Dharmesh Patel has been placed under arrest after being rescued from destroyed vehicle at the base of a notoriously dangerous cliff, known as Devil’s Slide, near San Francisco.

His 41-year-old wife, seven-year-old daughter and four-year-old son were also inside the car and managed to survive the 300ft (91m) plunge.

Patel was in stable condition in hospital on Wednesday and was scheduled to be held at the San Mateo County Jail in Redwood City, Calif., upon his release.

In this image from video provided by Cal Fire San Mateo, Santa Cruz Unit, emergency personnel respond to the scene after a Tesla plunged off a cliff along the Pacific Coast Highway on Monday, Jan. 2 2023, in northern California near an area known as Devil's Slide, leaving four people in critical condition, a fire official said (Cal Fire San Mateo - Santa Cruz Unit via AP)

Initial reports suggested the Tesla may have been in fully autonomous driving mode at the time of the incident, but police believe the crash was an “intentional act” by the 41-year-old radiologist.

Officers worked for three hours to complete the rescue on Monday, with the children, who suffered minor injuries, being rescued first.

A helicopter was then used to hoist the more seriously injured adults out of the mangled car.

“Children were properly restrained in appropriate car seats, and the car seats were properly secured in the vehicle,” said San Mateo-Santa Cruz Unit Battalion Chief Brian Pottenger.

“The car seats saved the lives of these two children, in our opinion.”

Rescuers work to recover a wrecked Tesla sedan that had plunged off a cliff in an area called Devil's Slide in San Mateo County, California January 2, 2023. San Mateo County Sheriff's Office/Handout via REUTERS THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.

The Tesla driven by Patel was rolling on the main part of the roadway before swerving off the cliff, he continued, adding that the area regularly sees similar incidents.

The hospital where Patel works said it was “deeply saddened” by the accident, but also “extremely grateful” that the injuries caused were not more serious.

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