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The wife of California doctor Dharmesh Patel, who drove the Tesla off a cliff with his family, speaks in court for the first time

US News

The wife of the California doctor accused of intentionally driving a Tesla off a cliff with his family last year pleaded with prosecutors to drop his attempted murder charge during testimony in court Thursday.

Dharmesh Patel was reportedly emotional as he listened to his wife, Neha Patel, reflect on the horrific accident for the first time in a Redwood City courthouse and as their young son asked her, “When is daddy coming home?”

“We need him in our lives and it has been over a year and a half since my children or I have seen or spoken to Dharmesh,” Neha Patel said, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.

“Without him we are not a family.”

Dharmesh Patel is accused of driving his family's Tesla – with his wife and children inside – off a cliff in January 2023. AP

Dharmesh Patel is charged with three counts of attempted murder after he allegedly drove the family's Tesla off a 250-foot cliff in an attempted murder-suicide on a stretch of the Pacific Coast Highway known as “Devil's Slide” on January 2, 2023 drove.

Patel suffered “severe lower body injuries,” while Neha Patel and her then seven-year-old daughter suffered serious injuries in the harrowing fall.

Her then 4-year-old son was treated for minor injuries.

He pleaded not guilty to three counts of attempted murder and two counts of attempted murder for the injuries to his wife and daughter, Patch reported.

Patel had claimed that his Tesla Model Y had tire problems when he drove it off the cliff.

However, witnesses said Patel's Tesla showed no signs of slowing before the accident, as a police report ruled out a possible vehicle malfunction.

Dharmesh Patel's children were seven and four years old during the horrific crash. Facebook/Neha Patel

Neha Patel also told the court of her children's heartache on every birthday and holiday they experience without their father.

“When is dad coming home?” He's taking so long and I miss him,” she recalled telling her now 5-year-old son.

A psychologist testified last week that Dharmesh Patel suffered from psychosis and had delusions that his children had been kidnapped and abused before the crash, according to the Orange County Register.

The source added that the delusions were also triggered by the country's fentanyl crisis and the war in Ukraine.

Dharmesh Patel, a radiologist at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Los Angeles, hopes to qualify for a two-year mental health diversion program rather than face a trial that could result in a life sentence.

Emergency responders respond to a Tesla driven by Patel on Highway 1 on January 1, 2023 in San Mateo County, California. AP

During the hearing, psychologist Mark Patterson noted that the father was a “very motivated” candidate for the program and “amenable to treatment.”

Last year, Neha Patel told investigators that her husband was suicidal and had intentionally driven off the road and pleaded with authorities not to prosecute the father.

“He is depressed. He is a doctor. He said he would drive off the cliff. He drove away intentionally,” Neha told the rescuers at the time.

However, Neha Patel later claimed in Thursday's statement that her husband “never had an incident” in their 25 years together, according to the SF Chronicle.

“Now that we understand and know that he has a treatable disease, things will be different,” she said. “I want members of the court to know that the health and safety of my family is of the utmost importance.”

Neha Patel said her children asked where their father was after he was arrested as he faces attempted murder charges. Facebook/Neha Patel

In 2018, California implemented the pretrial diversion program for defendants diagnosed with a mental health disorder.

If Patel is placed in care and completes the two-year program, his criminal charges would be dismissed and his arrest record destroyed.


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