Wife of man accused of driving family off cliff in Tesla ‘doesn’t want him to be charged’

The wife of a California man accused of driving his Tesla off a cliff has urged authorities not to prosecute him for his alleged crimes.

Dharmesh Patel, a radiologist, was held without bail after pleading not guilty last week to charges of domestic violence and attempted murder for the 2 January crash.

The Tesla car that he allegedly drove off a cliff had his wife Neha and their children inside.

Ms Patel had initially told first responders that her husband “tried to kill us”.

She, however, doesn’t want him to face charges, according to Mr Patel’s defence attorney.

KNTV reported that the attorney, Josh Bentley, told the court that his client’s wife hoped Mr Patel would not be prosecuted over charges that include attempted murder and child endangerment.

The 41-year-old father was arrested after California Highway Patrol investigators “developed probable cause to believe this incident was an intentional act”.

The Pasadena local was seriously injured when the Tesla sedan slipped off the cliff at Devil’s Slide along the Pacific Coast Highway on 2 January.

Rescuers initially hailed the family’s survival as a miracle after the sedan plummeted in an area about 15 miles (24km) south of San Francisco. The area is known for fatal accidents.

The family – including Mr Patel’s 41-year-old wife, seven-year-old daughter and four-year-old son – had to be pulled out of the mangled remains of the car by cutting the vehicle.

Neighbours in the Patel’s Pasadena neighbourhood earlier told The Los Angeles Times that the family seemed “idyllic” before the shocking incident on 2 January.

Meanwhile, San Mateo County’s deputy district attorney Sean Gallagher argued that prosecutors “have sufficient evidence to prove the charges beyond a reasonable doubt” with or without Ms Patel’s cooperation.

According to KRON4, Mr Gallagher also noted that it’s common for domestic violence victims to be unwilling to cooperate.