Dharmesh Patel, a resident of Pasadena, California, who was charged with three counts of first-degree attempted murder after driving his Tesla off Pacific Coast Highway, is seeking a mental health diversion to avoid prison, according to recent reports. Dharmesh Patel, 41, pleaded not guilty to the charges in February.
The incident occurred on January 3 when Dharmesh Patel, his wife, and their two young children survived the crash after their Tesla plunged off Devil’s Slide near California Highway 1
Dharmesh Patel’s defense team has requested a mental health diversion, citing his diagnosis of major depressive disorder (MDD). California law stipulates that a suspect’s mental disorder must be a significant factor in the criminal act to be eligible for the program. Successful completion of the treatment within the diversion program could result in the charges being dropped and the arrest expunged. While murder and voluntary manslaughter suspects are excluded from the program, attempted murder is not explicitly excluded. The court will make a decision regarding the reinstatement of the previous charges once the program is completed.
In an affidavit obtained, Dharmesh Patel’s wife, Neha Patel, claimed that her husband had informed the family of his intention to drive off the cliff prior to the incident
Dharmesh Patel alleged that he drove off due to tire issues with his Tesla Model Y. First responders used hydraulic rescue tools, commonly known as “jaws of life” tools, to extract the family from the severely damaged vehicle.
District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe stated that all occupants had to be rescued through the car’s windows. While the couple’s son escaped unharmed, Dharmesh Patel’s daughter sustained serious injuries but recovered quickly. Neha Patel suffered the most severe injuries. A decision regarding Dharmesh Patel’s eligibility for mental health diversion will be made at the end of July.