Wife of Doctor Who Drove Tesla Off Cliff Doesn't Want Him to Face Charges, His Lawyer Says

Dharmesh Patel has pleaded not guilty to three counts of attempted murder  

The wife of a California radiologist who allegedly drove his Tesla over an infamous California cliff on Jan. 2 with his family inside the vehicle doesn't want him prosecuted, the man's lawyer reportedly said in court last week.

Dharmesh Arvind Patel, 40, was charged with three counts of attempted murder in connection with the crash that involved his 41-year-old wife Neha and two children, a 7-year-old girl and a 4-year-old boy.

At a court hearing last week where Patel pleaded not guilty, his defense attorney Josh Bentley said Neha did not want her husband to face prosecution, KNTV reported.

Neha allegedly told paramedics after they had plunged down the 250-foot cliff that "he [Dharmesh] intentionally tried to kill us," San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe previously told PEOPLE.

"She made that statement when asked, 'What happened? What happened?'" Wagstaffe said. "'He intentionally tried to kill us.' … We have multiple people who heard her say that."

Dharmesh A. Patel drove Tesla off a cliff in attempted murder suicide
Dharmesh A. Patel and his family. Facebook

Neha "didn't get into detail. She was then quickly rendered medical aid and that was the statements from her," he said.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Sean Gallagher said prosecutors plan to move ahead with the case.

"Regardless of whether she is cooperative, we believe we have sufficient evidence to prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt," he said, according to KNTV.

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Mandatory Credit: Photo by Sgt Brian Moore/AP/Shutterstock (13744707a) In this photo provided by the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office, emergency personnel respond to a vehicle over the side of Highway 1 on Jan. 1, 2023, in San Mateo County, Calif. The driver of the car that plunged 250 feet off a cliff in Northern California, injuring his two young children and his wife, has been released from the hospital and jailed on suspicion of attempted murder and child abuse. The San Mateo County District Attorney's Office announced, that Dharmesh Patel is being held without bail California Car Falls Off Cliff, San Mateo County, United States - 04 Jan 2023
Sgt Brian Moore/AP/Shutterstock

"We have collected some evidence but the investigation will go on and we think it will establish the motive in this case," Gallagher said, KNTV reported.

The crash occurred on a notorious stretch of highway known as the Devil's Slide in San Mateo County, near Pacifica, along the famous Highway 1, which runs the length of California's coastline. The Devil's Slide has been the site of a number of fatalities over the past five decades.

Patel and his wife were both injured in the crash. Wagstaffe said one of the couple's children was hospitalized with injuries. The other child sustained "bumps and bruises, but no injuries."

Patel was charged after authorities spoke to "two separate drivers behind him who watched what occurred and were able to provide information about lack of brake lights," Wagstaffe said.

This undated photo provided by the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office shows Dharmesh Patel. Patel the driver of a car that plunged off a treacherous cliff in northern California, seriously injuring himself, his wife and their two young children, has been charged with attempted murder California-Car Off Cliff, United States - 31 Jan 2023
Dharmesh Patel. Uncredited/AP/Shutterstock

Authorities also found video from the nearby Tom Lantos tunnels that "clearly shows his car coming out of the tunnel, going up the hill, making a right turn off the road into a dirt area at the top," he said. "And then a sharp right turn down and over the edge and down the cliff."

The Tesla is currently being examined by the California Highway Patrol's Major Accident Investigation Team [MAIT].

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for March 20.

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