Indian-American doctor who drove family off cliff in US was having psychotic breakdown, says therapist

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WASHINGTON, DC : An Indian-American radiologist who drove his family off the cliff had a ‘psychotic breakdown’ and believed his children were at risk of being sex trafficked, a psychologist testified regarding the case, according to San Francisco Chronicle.

The radiologist, Dharmesh Patel, drove the Tesla carrying his wife and two children off a San Mareo County cliff, resulting in the crash that took place last January.

The expert witness called by Patel’s lawyers, Dr Mark Patterson, in his testimony on Wednesday this week said that he had met Patel many times since the January 2, 2023 crash.

He said that he had diagnosed him with major depressive disorder with a single episode of psychotic features and anxious distress, according to San Francisco Chronicle.

“Patel had been hearing footsteps and thought he was being followed in the weeks before the crash,” Patterson said.

“It was paranoid and kind of delusional thinking that he acted on at the time to protect his family from a worse fate,” he told the court, adding that “He was concerned that his children were at risk of being kidnapped, possibly for sexual molestation.”

Patel has been charged by prosecutors with three counts of attempted murder, alleging he intentionally drove his white 2021 Tesla Model Y off a cliff.
Patel, who has pleaded not guilty, is, at this time, attempting to qualify for mental health treatment in lieu of prison time as part of a 2018 diversion law that was expanded last year.

Patel, who drove his Tesla off with Neha and their two children in the car was 41 at the time of the crash, their 7-year-old suffered serious injuries, while their 4-year-old escaped largely physically unharmed.

Citing the search warrant records, San Francisco Chronicle reported that Neha Patel told rescuers repeatedly that her husband intentionally drove off the cliff to kill the family. She also said that he had a mental health disturbance going on.

However, Patel, in his statement told CHP officers he had not been on any medication or under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the crash. (ANI)

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