Man Who Drove Family Off Cliff in Tesla Granted Mental Health Diversion, Stopping Case from Going to Criminal Trial

A judge “concluded the proper diagnosis” for the man “was major depressive disorder,” which qualified him for the diversion

<p>Sgt. Brian Moore/San Mateo County Sheriff

Sgt. Brian Moore/San Mateo County Sheriff's Office via AP

The crash site on Jan. 1, 2023

The California man accused of driving his Tesla off a cliff with his family inside the vehicle reportedly will not stand trial.

A judge granted Dharmesh Patel, who was charged with three counts of attempted murder in 2023, a mental health diversion on Thursday, June 20. Now, instead of facing a criminal trial, he will be freed in order to obtain treatment, according to a statement from the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office obtained by KRON, CNN and CBS News.

The statement said that after reviewing “all the evidence,” the judge “concluded the proper diagnosis for the defendant's mental illness was major depressive disorder,” which qualified him for the diversion.

The District Attorney’s Office added that it would still be several weeks before Patel would be released from jail and allowed to return to his parent's home in Belmont.

<p>San Mateo County Sheriff's Office via AP</p> Mug shot of Dharmesh Patel

San Mateo County Sheriff's Office via AP

Mug shot of Dharmesh Patel

Related: Wife of Doctor Who Drove Tesla Off Cliff Asks Court to Spare Him Prison: 'We Need Him in Our Lives'

Patel would still continue to be monitored by GPS and would be prevented from leaving the home, except to attend court hearings, within the first two months of his release. He would also be prohibited from driving and using alcohol and drugs after his release, the office said.

The San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

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Prosecutors claimed that Patel drove his family's car off a 250-foot cliff at Devil’s Slide with his wife Neha Patel and their two kids — an 8-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son — in January 2023.

Authorities previously told PEOPLE that Neha was injured, their daughter was hospitalized and their son was left with "bumps and bruises, but no injuries.”

Deputy District Attorney Dominique Davis previously argued in court against releasing Patel on a mental health diversion, stating that “the defendant will pose an unreasonable risk of danger to public safety.”

Facebook A photo of Dharmesh Patel and his family.
Facebook A photo of Dharmesh Patel and his family.

Related: Father Who Drove His Family Of 4 Off Cliff Suffered Psychotic Break, Doctors Say

The prosecution also cited testimony from Dr. Yan Chan and said Patel was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, which symptoms include hallucinations or delusions and mood disorder symptoms, such as depression or mania." They also argued that Patel was able to “mask” his mental illness and could do so again.

However, both his wife and his legal team have advocated against jail time for the father of two and instead suggested Patel enter mental treatment.

“I don’t want to see Dharmesh prosecuted with any of his charges,” Neha told the judge on May 2, via Zoom, per various outlets. “I am pleading with the court to grant him his mental health diversion.”

She also argued that the treatment "will not only restore him back to himself, but will restore our family."

Patel is scheduled to appear in court again on July 1.

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