Why Wife of Doctor Who Drove Tesla Off Cliff Thinks His Return Home Will ‘Restore Our Family’

Why Wife of Doctor Who Drove Tesla Off Cliff Thinks His Return Home Will ‘Restore Our Family’
Why Wife of Doctor Who Drove Tesla Off Cliff Thinks His Return Home Will ‘Restore Our Family’

The wife of a doctor who is accused of driving his car off a California cliff with his family inside in January 2023 believes he should avoid prison time and return home to their family while receiving mental treatment, claiming that his time in custody has been difficult for her and their two children.

“We need him in our lives and it has been over a year and a half since my children or I have seen or spoken to Dharmesh,” Neha Patel told a judge during a virtual court hearing on May 2, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. “We are not a family without him.”

“The mental health treatment… will not only restore him back to himself, but will restore our family,” Neha added.

Neha’s first public remarks come over 16 months after her husband Dharmesh A. Patel, then 40, allegedly drove his Tesla off a 250-foot cliff along Highway 1 in San Mateo County while she and their two children, a 7-year-old girl and 4-year-old boy, were inside.

The Jan. 2, 2023 crash occurred on a notorious stretch of highway on the state’s coast known as “Devil’s Slide,” which has been the location of several fatalities over the last five decades.

Neha and the couple’s two children survived and Dharmesh, a local radiologist, was later charged with three counts of attempted murder, PEOPLE previously reported.

Two doctors have since testified that Dharmesh was suffering a psychotic episode at the time of the crash, leading him to believe that his children would be sex trafficked, San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said in April, per the Los Angeles Times. Doctors for the defense also reportedly said he suffered from major depressive disorder.

At the hearing, Neha claimed her husband “never had an episode” in the 25 years that she knew him.

“Now that we understand and know he has a treatable condition, things will be different,” she said, per the LA Times. “I want members of the court to know the health and safety of my family is of paramount importance.”

Wagstaffe previously told PEOPLE that Neha allegedly told paramedics after they had plunged down the cliff that “he intentionally tried to kill us.”

“She made that statement when asked, ‘What happened? What happened?’ “the district attorney prosecuting the case said at the time. “‘He intentionally tried to kill us.’ …We have multiple people who heard her say that.”

Dharmesh has pleaded not guilty to his charges, the LA Times reported. If granted a mental health diversion, he would be released from jail and put on a two-year treatment plan.

A judge has yet to determine whether Dharmesh’s mental state contributed to the crash.

 
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