Man suspected of intentionally driving off California cliff

Jan 3, 2023, 3:42 AM | Updated: 8:01 pm

FILE - This image from video provided by San Mateo County Sheriff's Office shows a Tesla vehicle that plunged off a Northern California cliff along the Pacific Coast Highway, Monday, Jan. 2, 2023, near an area known as Devil's Slide, leaving four people in critical condition, a fire official said. The driver of the Tesla that plunged off a cliff in Northern California, seriously wounding two children and a second adult, intentionally caused the crash and has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and child abuse, the California Highway Patrol said Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023. (San Mateo County Sheriff's Office via AP, File)

(San Mateo County Sheriff's Office via AP, File)

MONTARA, Calif. (AP) — The driver of a car that plunged off a cliff in Northern California, seriously wounding two children and a second adult after the 250-foot drop, was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and child abuse, the California Highway Patrol said Tuesday.

Dharmesh A. Patel of Pasadena will be booked into San Mateo County Jail after he’s released from a hospital, the highway patrol said in a statement. It wasn’t immediately known if Patel has an attorney.

“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.

“Providence Holy Cross Medical Center is deeply saddened to learn of a traffic incident involving one of our physicians and his family,” said the statement, which was reported by KABC-TV. “We are extremely grateful there were no serious injuries. We will not respond further, as this incident is under investigation.”

Officials said it was a miracle the four survived after the car tumbled down a notorious cliffside along the Pacific Coast Highway near an area called Devil’s Slide that’s known for fatal wrecks.

The Tesla sedan plummeted more than 250 feet (76 meters) from the highway and crashed into a rocky outcropping. It appears to have flipped a few times before landing on its wheels, wedged against the cliff just feet from the surf, Brian Pottenger, a battalion chief for Coastside Fire Protection District/Cal Fire, said Monday

Crashes along Devil’s Slide, a steep, rocky and winding coastal area about 15 miles (24 kilometers) south of San Francisco that’s between Pacifica and Montara, rarely end with survivors. On Monday, the victims were initially listed in critical condition but all four were conscious and alert when rescuers arrived.

“We go there all the time for cars over the cliff and they never live. This was an absolute miracle,” Pottenger said Monday.

There was no guardrail at the spot where the sedan went off the cliff, officials said.

Witnesses called 911 around 10:15 a.m. Monday and the crews set up rope system from the highway to lower firefighters down the cliff, the battalion chief said. At the same time, other firefighters watching the sedan through binoculars suddenly noticed movement — a sign that at least one person was still alive.

The incident turned from what had been likely a recovery of bodies to a rescue operation that took several hours amid constant rain, heavy winds, slick roads and crashing waves. The doors were smashed against the cliff and jammed shut, so firefighters were forced to cut the victims out of the car using the so-called “jaws of life” tools.

Crews pulled the kids out of the back window and brought them up the cliff by hand in a rescue basket using the rope system. They were rushed to the hospital by ambulance with musculoskeletal injuries.

The adults had traumatic injuries, however, and had to be hoisted up the cliff by a helicopter. They were then both flown to the hospital, the battalion chief said.

In 2018, a woman intentionally drove off another Northern California cliff in an SUV with her wife and their six adopted children, investigators said. All were killed. The crash in Mendocino County happened just days after authorities in Washington state opened an investigation following allegations that Jennifer Hart’s children were being neglected.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Bus falls into ravine in northern Peru, leaving 25 dead

LIMA, Peru (AP) — A passenger bus fell into a ravine in northern Peru on Saturday leaving at least 25 people dead and others injured, authorities said. The bus belonging Q’orianka Tours had left the capital of Lima for the Tumbes region near the Ecuador border on Peru’s coastal desert. The early morning accident left […]
16 hours ago
Associated Press

N. Carolina church says it lost nearly $800K in email scam

ELKIN, N.C. (AP) — Leaders of a northwestern North Carolina church say cybercriminals stole nearly $800,000 that the congregation spent years raising to build a new sanctuary that’s supposed to be completed in a few months. It happened in November when Elkin Valley Baptist Church received an email that mimicked another message from the sanctuary […]
16 hours ago
The image from video released on Jan. 27, 2023, by the City of Memphis, shows Tyre Nichols being tr...
Associated Press

In 67 minutes of video, brutality followed by nonchalance

If you stumbled on the scene too late, you might have missed him there, bloodied and beaten. The officers’ demeanors seem untroubled and their work nonurgent as they mill at this quiet corner trading battle tales, a fist bump and a back pat. The police ranks have ballooned, but everyone seems to agree there’s nothing […]
16 hours ago
Rodney Wells, stepfather of Tyre Nichols, who died after being beaten by Memphis police officers, s...
Associated Press

Distrust of police: Black parents, children have ‘the talk’

DETROIT (AP) — About 50 years ago, Greg Bowens was given “the talk” — sage advice about what young Black people should do and, more importantly, not do when stopped by police in Detroit. But just this month, Tyre Nichols, a Black man, died after police officers in Memphis, Tennessee, stopped, threatened and brutally beat […]
16 hours ago
Associated Press

Fully clothed bathing burglar found in Seattle bathroom

SEATTLE (AP) — A man suspected of breaking into a Seattle home has refused to come clean about his intentions, even though police found him fully clothed in a bathtub filled with water. A woman returned to her home Friday night to find a window smashed and an unknown man inside the house, according to […]
2 days ago
Protesters over the death of Tyre Nichols lead chants of "Hands up, don't shoot" while blocking tra...
Associated Press

Memphis beating video puts spotlight on first police account

Newly released video shows Memphis police officers battering motorist Tyre Nichols with punches and kicks and also using pepper spray and a baton, with Nichols howling in pain as he tried to shield the blows. Yet initially, in a statement posted on social media the day after the incident, Memphis police used vague language to […]
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.
Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Man suspected of intentionally driving off California cliff