Tesla driver taken from hospital to jail without bail after being accused of intentionally driving his family off a cliff
- A man accused of intentionally driving off a cliff was moved from a hospital to jail, local news reported.
- The San Mateo District Attorney’s Office said the driver was booked without bail.
- Authorities are seeking to rule out any mechanical issues with the Tesla, including brake failure.
The driver is being held without bail and could be brought into a court room to face charges of attempted murder and child abuse as soon as Monday afternoon, the San Mateo District Attorney’s Office told the publication.
The San Mateo District Attorney’s Office did not respond to a request for comment from Insider ahead of publication.
Earlier this month, Patel, his two children, and wife survived a 250-foot dive off a cliff known as Devil’s Slide. The San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office said in a tweet on January 2 that the children were “unharmed” at the time of rescue. NBC reported that the adults were taken to the hospital in critical condition upon recovery, but were later found to have sustained non-life-threatening injuries. It is unclear whether Patel’s wife has been discharged from the hospital as well.
At the time of the incident, the family’s survival was hailed as “nothing short of a miracle.” But, California Highway Patrol later said that “Based on the evidence collected, investigators developed probable cause to believe this incident was an intentional act.”
District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said investigators are also looking to rule out any issues with the car that could have caused the accident, including issues with the Tesla’s brakes, The Los Angeles Times reported. The authorities had previously said that Tesla’s driver assist features, Autopilot and Full Self-Driving do “not appear to be a contributing factor in this incident.”
Insider was unable to contact Patel for comment ahead of publication, and it was not immediately clear whether he has retained an attorney. A spokesperson for Tesla also did not respond to a request for comment. The investigation is ongoing, per The LA Times.