Indian American doctor Dharmesh Patel charged with attempted murder, no provision for bail

Ritu Jha-

Dharmesh Patel[Above photo], an Indian American doctor who allegedly drove his car intentionally down a cliff off a California highway, has been charged with attempted murder, with no provision of bail.

On January 30, the San Mateo district attorney (DA) Steve Wagstaffe charged Patel with three counts of attempted murder along with domestic violence.

In response to indica’s queries, the DA said through a voice message that the case was filed against Patel “on the basis of witness testimony about the manner in which Mr. Patel drove up the hill and made a sharp right turn to go over the cliff.”

He added, “Plus some camera footage from a nearby security camera and him and a couple other more things.” Wagstaffe aid these pieces of evidence led to the decision he made. “However,” he said, “there are other things that I cannot discuss.”

He clarified that though there is a case of domestic violence against Patel, “no previous such incident was reported against him in the criminal justice system.”

Even though the California Highway Patrol (CHP) submitted the investigation and report, the district attorney’s office did a separate investigation to be clear whether there was any mechanical issue that made the car (a Tesla) lose control and fall off the highway cliff as a result.

Wagstaffe said that Patel was arraigned on Monday but he did not enter any plea, as he appeared with the retained attorney. His attorney will review the report. The next hearing on this case is on February 9.

On January 2, Patel and his wife Neha along with their children – a seven-year-old girl and a four-year-old boy – were driving back home to Pasadena, Southern California.

According to a CHP officer, Patel intentionally drove the car off the cliff causing it to plunge 250 feet on Highway 1 near what is called Devil’s Slide in San Mateo County.

The family survived but Patel received a critical injury. The entire family was airlifted to the hospital.

Patel was shown arrested on January 2 at the accident spot; however, given the nature of his injuries, he was taken to hospital for treatment. He was taken to the San Mateo County Jail after being released from the Stanford Hospital on January 26.

According to court documents, states, Patel, “did unlawfully and with malice aforethought attempt to murder Confidential Victim… a human being. It is further alleged that the aforesaid murder was committed
wilfully, deliberately and with premeditation within the meaning of Penal Code section 189[which means the murder of the first degree].

Wagstaffe told during a press conference that due to three counts of attempted murder, no bail amount was set and each count could lead to seven years of imprisonment.

Patel’s attorney Joshua Bentley did not respond to indica’s request for comment.

Patel is a radiologist in Mission Hills, California and is affiliated with Providence Holy Cross Medical Center. He received his medical degree from Wayne State University School of Medicine.

His neighbors described the Patel family as “perfect” with no issues of domestic violence ever reported, according to a Pasadena city manager spokeswoman.


[Photo courtesy: [San Mateo County Sheriff’s office]

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