Indian American doctor charged with attempted murder of family asks for mental health treatment


Indian American doctor Dharmesh Patel, who is charged with trying to kill his family by driving his Tesla off a California cliff, has urged the court for mental health treatment.

Patel, a 41-year-old radiologist who worked at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Los Angeles, has been charged with attempted first-degree murder and child abuse to which he has pleaded not guilty.

“Dharmesh Patel’s attorney Joshua Bentley told Judge Jeff Finigan urged the court that Patel has major depressive disorder and ought to go through a mental health court instead of the typical court system, said District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe,” Palo Alto Daily Post reported.

Patel’s wife Neha told the emergency worker after she was rescued, Patel “did it on purpose”.

“He’s depressed. He’s a doctor. He said he was going to drive off the cliff. He purposely drove off,” Patel’s wife told the rescuer.

According to Palo Alto Daily Post, Judge Susan Jakubowski, who oversees the county’s mental health diversion court, will have to rule once she is presented with a treatment plan for Patel that a psychologist will say Patel’s condition would improve under.

She will also determine if the public will remain safe if Patel is released from jail. If Judge Jakubowski grants Patel a mental health diversion and Patel follows the rules of his treatment program, then all of his charges will be dropped after two years under state law.

The Medical Board of California has barred Patel from practicing medicine.

The incident took place on January 2 this year, when Patel was traveling south on State Route 1 with his wife and two children, when his Tesla, went over a 250-foot cliff at Devil’s Slide, south of the Tom Lantos Tunnels, and flipped and landed on its wheels near the water’s edge.

Luckily all four survived, though firefighters had to cut the vehicle to pull Patel’s two children — a seven-year-old girl and a four-year-old boy — from the vehicle.

Patel interestingly has denied in the court of mental illness as accused by his wife and that he intentionally drove his car off the cliff. He instead told the court that his wife had been “irritated” just before the crash because she didn’t want to stop by his brother’s house in Montara.

He also told officers he was not on any medication or under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the crash.

He told investigators that the sensor on his Model Y electric car indicated it had low tire pressure as he was driving his wife and two children on the Pacific Coast Highway on January 2 this year.

He further told the investigators that he was trying to stop to check the tires when the vehicle tumbled down the cliff overlooking the ocean, court documents released last month said.

According to witnesses, the Tesla didn’t show signs of slowing down before it plummeted off the cliff and the police report also does not indicate a malfunction.

Patel is in jail at present and his next hearing is on July 31 to set up his hearings in mental health court.

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