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Pasadena man who drove Tesla over Northern California cliff arrested on attempted murder charges

Authorities on Tuesday arrested the driver of a Tesla that plunged off a cliff near Devil’s Slide a day earlier on suspicion of attempted murder and child abuse.

The driver, Dharmesh Patel of Pasadena, and his three passengers – another adult and two children – suffered serious injuries in the crash Monday morning just south of the Tom Lantos Tunnels, the California Highway Patrol said in a news release.

Patel was still being treated for his injuries Tuesday, the CHP said, adding that he will be booked into county jail once he is released. An update on the passengers’ conditions was not immediately available.

The CHP said it “developed probable cause to believe the incident was an intentional act” after interviewing witnesses and gathering evidence at the crash site.

The crash was reported around 10:50 a.m. Monday along Highway 1 just south of the Tom Lantos Tunnels. Officers arrived to find a white Tesla 250 to 300 feet below the roadway.

This image from the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office Twitter feed shows a helicopter at the scene of 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 CHP said it “developed probable cause to believe the incident was an intentional act” after interviewing witnesses and gathering evidence at the crash site. The Tesla driver, who is from Pasadena, has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and child abuse, the CHP said Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023. (Photo from San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office via Twitter)

This image from the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office Twitter feed shows the scene of 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 CHP said it “developed probable cause to believe the incident was an intentional act” after interviewing witnesses and gathering evidence at the crash site. The Tesla driver, who is from Pasadena, has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and child abuse, the CHP said Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023. (Photo from San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office via Twitter)

This image from the Cal Fire San Mateo – Santa Cruz Unit Twitter feed shows a helicopter at the scene of 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 CHP said it “developed probable cause to believe the incident was an intentional act” after interviewing witnesses and gathering evidence at the crash site. The Tesla driver, who is from Pasadena, has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and child abuse, the CHP said Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023. (Photo from Cal Fire San Mateo – Santa Cruz Unit via Twitter)

This image from the Cal Fire San Mateo – Santa Cruz Unit Twitter feed shows a helicopter at the scene of 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 CHP said it “developed probable cause to believe the incident was an intentional act” after interviewing witnesses and gathering evidence at the crash site. The Tesla driver, who is from Pasadena, has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and child abuse, the CHP said Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023. (Photo from Cal Fire San Mateo – Santa Cruz Unit via Twitter)

This image from the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office Twitter feed shows the scene of 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 CHP said it “developed probable cause to believe the incident was an intentional act” after interviewing witnesses and gathering evidence at the crash site. The Tesla driver, who is from Pasadena, has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and child abuse, the CHP said Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023. (Photo from San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office via Twitter)

This image from the Cal Fire San Mateo – Santa Cruz Unit Twitter feed shows a helicopter at the scene of 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 CHP said it “developed probable cause to believe the incident was an intentional act” after interviewing witnesses and gathering evidence at the crash site. The Tesla driver, who is from Pasadena, has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and child abuse, the CHP said Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023. (Photo from Cal Fire San Mateo – Santa Cruz Unit via Twitter)

This image from the Cal Fire San Mateo – Santa Cruz Unit Twitter feed shows the scene of 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 CHP said it “developed probable cause to believe the incident was an intentional act” after interviewing witnesses and gathering evidence at the crash site. The Tesla driver, who is from Pasadena, has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and child abuse, the CHP said Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2023. (Photo from Cal Fire San Mateo – Santa Cruz Unit via Twitter)

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One witness said the Tesla was headed south when it swerved and went over the cliff, according to Cecile Juliette, a spokesperson for Cal Fire San Mateo, one of the agencies called to the scene.

Rescuers used ropes and baskets to bring the children to the top of the cliff before helicopters arrived and pulled up the adults. All four were then taken to a hospital.

The crash remains under investigation and anyone with information can call the CHP San Francisco area office at 415-557-1094.

Check back for updates.

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