Driver in Devil’s Slide crash released

Dr. Dharmesh A. Patel, inset, is accused of driving this white Tesla off a cliff on the Devil's Slide portion of Highway 1 in an attempt ot kill his wife and two children, who were passengers. AP photos.

Daily Post Staff Writer

The Southern California radiologist who drove his Tesla over Devil’s Slide on Highway 1 near Half Moon Bay with his family in the car has been released, a prosecutor said today (July 8). 

Dharmesh Patel, 43, of Pasadena, had been charged with three counts of attempted murder, but San Mateo County Superior Judge Susan Jakubowski ruled that his major depressive disorder caused him to drive over the cliff’s edge on Jan. 2, 2023. 

Patel was released today and will spend the next two years at his parents’ Belmont home receiving treatment for his major depression disorder at Stanford. During those two years he will be under GPS monitoring, according to District Attorney Stephen Wagstaffe. While Patel’s charges will not be dropped, they can be dismissed after following the court’s guidelines for two years. 

Patel was driving southbound along Highway 1 north of Half Moon Bay after spending the holidays with family in the area. Patel drove the Tesla off the road and the car fell 250 feet to the surf and rocks below. Most of the family needed to be hospitalized.

He has not been allowed by the court to see his wife and kids in person, due to a restraining order. But he has been able to speak to them on the phone, Wagstaffe said. The DA expects the family to be reunited in some form in the coming months 

Patel’s medical license has been suspended according to Wagstaffe. After two years, the medical board can make a decision whether to reinstate him.

Wagstaffe explained that Judge Jakubowski ruled on June 20 that the defendant was suitable for mental health diversion. Patel will have to comply with the court’s orders for the next two years to get the charges dismissed.

Patel will be tested according to Wagstaffe to ensure he is not using drugs and alcohol. He also has court-mandated treatment for his depression and had his driver’s license and passport taken away. During the two years he is also not allowed to have weapons. 

“He hit the jackpot because under this law the only crimes that don’t qualify are murder, sexual assault and child molesters,” Wagstaffe said. “Other than that every other crime is eligible (to have charges dismissed) under California law.”

1 Comment

  1. Dharmesh patel is my second cousin from my late father’s relation side he is very lucky he got released after spending 1 and half years behind bars and monetarily close to a million dollars in attorney fees etc…. I hope he realizes his costly mistake and eventually can reunite with provisions to see his wife and children when he gets his treatment he definitely needs

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