A California radiologist accused of intentionally driving a Tesla off a cliff to kill his family has been barred from medical practice.
“Alarming danger”: Citing public safety concerns, the Medical Board of California moved to prevent Dharmesh Patel from practicing medicine while his criminal case remains pending.
In its court filings this week, the medical board argued that Patel represented “an alarming danger to the public” amid an “impairment of cognitive abilities needed to safely practice medicine.”
San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Rachel Holt approved the motion during a hearing on Monday.
What investigators say: Patel is being held without bail in the San Mateo County jail for allegedly driving his wife Neha, 41, their 7-year-old daughter and their 4-year-old son off a cliff near Devil’s Slide along Highway 1 on Jan. 2 , causing the car to plunge 250 feet onto a beach.
Patel, who is a radiologist at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills, sustained injuries to his leg and foot while Patel’s wife and their 7-year-old daughter suffered more serious injuries. The 4-year-old son sustained bruises during the ordeal.
What Patel claims: In Patel’s not guilty plea, he attributed the crash to tire issues that the car purportedly experienced, noting that its tire-pressure sensor light turned on that day. He claimed that he even stopped at gas stations three times to fill the left-rear tire with air.
Witnesses, however, reported that the car did not appear to brake prior to the crash, a claim supported by video evidence from the Tom Lantos Tunnels.
Investigators have also ruled out Tesla’s self-driving features as contributing factors in the crash.
What Patel’s wife said: “He’s depressed,” Patel’s wife told emergency workers after the accident. “He’s a doctor. He said he was going to drive off the cliff. He purposely drove off.”
She also urged authorities to perform a psychiatric evaluation on her husband. In response to officers’ questions, Patel denied being suicidal but mentioned he was feeling down due to global issues such as war and drugs.