Court records reveal new details on Tesla Model Y that plunged off 250-foot cliff

Neha Patel, the wife of Dharmesh Patel, the man behind the wheel of a Model Y that fell off a 250-foot cliff at Devil’s Slide, CA, has alleged that her husband intentionally drove their Tesla off a cliff. The details were revealed in court records that were recently made public. 

Dharmesh Patel, a Pasadena-based radiologist, currently faces three counts of attempted murder. A three-page court affidavit released Tuesday provided the first public statement from Neha, and it provided new details about the disturbing incident. 

On the fateful day of January 2nd, the Patel family was on a drive along the coastline of San Mateo County when Dharmesh drove the family’s Model Y off a cliff at Devil’s Slide, as per authorities. The family survived, despite the vehicle plunging 250 feet off a cliff. Authorities have described the accident as a small miracle.

As per the court records, Neha told a California Highway Patrol officer that the incident was intentional as she was being airlifted from the accident’s site. “He drove off. He’s depressed. He’s a doctor. He said he was going to drive off the cliff. He purposefully drove off,” Neha reportedly said. 

Neha also noted that prior to the accident, her husband had stopped at three gas stations to put air in their Model Y’s left rear tire, as noted in a report from The Orange County Register. Dharmesh had reportedly complained that the car felt different, even if the Model Y’s tire pressure monitoring system did not indicate that anything was amiss with the vehicle’s wheels. 

The defendant’s lawyer, Joshua Bentley, has not provided a comment about the case’s new developments. Dharmesh, for his part, has entered a not guilty plea. He also claimed that there was a tire pressure problem with the Tesla. The claims appear to contradict Neha’s account, as well as forensic evidence and other eyewitnesses’ comments. 

An affidavit from Officer Aaron Sapien, a CHP officer, noted that the Model Y driver has denied that he was feeling suicidal at the time of the accident. Patel reportedly noted that he was “not really depressed” and he just “felt down” since “times were bad in the world.” The Model Y driver also stated that his wife was irritated with him prior to the incident since she didn’t want to stop at a relative’s house before the family headed home. 

The affidavit also revealed that investigators had asked Tesla to provide cloud data from the Model Y’s navigation system. Such data is expected to provide important information, such as the vehicle’s speed and the inputs that Dharmesh was giving the Model Y prior to the accident.

Dharmesh Patel is scheduled for a preliminary hearing in court on June 12th.

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