A Tesla crashed off the Pacific Coast Highway in Northern California on Monday, sending four seriously injured people, including two children, to the hospital—and now police allege that the crash may have been intentional.
Once he’s released from the hospital, the Tesla’s driver, Dr. Dharmesh A. Patel of Pasadena, will be taken into custody by the California Highway Patrol and booked on attempted murder and child abuse charges at the San Mateo County Jail, according to ABC News:
“CHP investigators worked throughout the night interviewing witnesses and gathering evidence from the scene,” the highway patrol statement said. “Based on the evidence collected, investigators developed probable cause to believe this incident was an intentional act.”
Patel, 42, was in the car with a 41-year-old woman, a 7-year-old girl, and a 4-year-old boy, according to court documents cited by CBS News. It was not immediately clear if they were all members of the same family.
However, Patel is a doctor in radiology at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in the Mission Hills area of Los Angeles, and a statement released by the hospital on Tuesday indicated that members of his family were in the car.
The spot where the car flew off a cliff and landed on jagged rocks 250 feet below is known as the Devil’s Slide. It’s a particularly dangerous stretch of the PCH about 15 miles south of San Francisco. It’s so dangerous, first responders told ABC that they rarely find survivors after a crash like this one, and they initially assumed their response to this Tesla crash would be a body-recovery effort. It became a rescue operation when one of the adults in the car began to move. Though critically injured, all four individuals in the car were conscious and alert when rescuers reached the wreck.
“We go there all the time for cars over the cliff and they never live. This was an absolute miracle,” Brian Pottenger, a battalion chief for Coastside Fire Protection District/Cal Fire, told ABC.
CHP did not note any specific evidence that indicates this crash may have been intentional, nor did authorities indicate a possible motive as to why Dr. Patel would have purposely crashed. We will update this story as the investigation reveals more details.