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Father Who Allegedly Drove Tesla Off Calif. Cliff With Wife and 2 Kids Inside Is a Doctor

People 1/4/2023 Laura Barcella

Facebook Dharmesh A. Patel and his family © Provided by People Facebook Dharmesh A. Patel and his family

The man accused of purposefully driving his Tesla off a California cliff on Monday is a radiologist, and the passengers in the crashed vehicle were his wife and two children, multiple outlets report.

Dharmesh A. Patel's bio on the U.S. News and World Report website says that Patel works as a radiologist in Mission Hills, California, and is "affiliated with Providence Holy Cross Medical Center. He received his medical degree from Wayne State University School of Medicine and has been in practice between 11-20 years," the site states.

Patel, 40, was arrested Monday at Stanford Hospital, per an arrest report by the California Highway Patrol that was previously reviewed by PEOPLE. Patel, of Pasadena, has been charged with attempted murder and child abuse.

Facebook Dharmesh A. Patel and his family © Provided by People Facebook Dharmesh A. Patel and his family

Patel's wife, 41, and their two children, a 7-year-old girl and a 4-year-old boy, were also trapped inside the vehicle at the time of the dramatic rescue. 

RELATED: Driver of Tesla That Went 250 Feet Over Calif. Cliff Arrested for Attempted Murder and Child Abuse

Uncredited/AP/Shutterstock Scenes from the Tesla crash rescue © Provided by People Uncredited/AP/Shutterstock Scenes from the Tesla crash rescue

Shaun Bouyea of the California Highway Patrol, who assisted in the rescue, tells PEOPLE that he hadn't seen a crash -- or a recovery -- quite like that. "I've seen people go over cliffs and survive, but never from [300 feet]," he says. "Also, it's unusual for that many people to be in the car and to have them all survive."

He also noted that seeing the two children moving around inside the vehicle "changed the tone" of the rescue. "Hearing that a car went 300 feet off a cliff, and then seeing victims still alive — that boosted hope for everyone, and changed the tone from somber to something more miraculous." 

RELATED: Officials Say It's an 'Absolute Miracle' All 4 People Survived Tesla's Plunge Over Calif. Cliff

On Tuesday, the CHP said in a news release that it was alerted of "a vehicle over the side of the cliff on SR-1" around 10:50 a.m local time on Monday.

When the CHP and other responding agencies got to the scene, they saw a white Tesla that had fallen 250-300 feet off the cliff, the release said. Authorities managed to reach the vehicle and recover two adults and two children, who were rushed "to a local hospital with serious injuries."

Uncredited/AP/Shutterstock Officials assisting at the scene © Provided by People Uncredited/AP/Shutterstock Officials assisting at the scene

The cliff is colloquially known as the Devil's Slide, and has been the site of a number of fatalities over the years. It's located near Pacifica, about 15 miles South of San Francisco, along the famous coastal highway, Highway 1. The route, which runs almost the entire length of California's Pacific coastline, attracts tourists from around the world.

After investigating through Tuesday morning, the CHP said "investigators developed probable cause to believe this incident was an intentional act." The CHP has not specified what led them to that conclusion.

The CHP added that they do not currently think the Telsa's self-drive feature was a factor in the crash. "There has been no determination as to what driving mode the Tesla was in; however, that does not appear to be a contributing factor in this incident," the CHP release said.

In a video update shared on Monday, Brian Pottenger, a battalion chief for Coastside Fire Protection District/Cal Fire, said that damage to the vehicle suggested it "flipped several times" before landing, on its wheels, upon the beach.

RELATED: Tesla Plunges 250 Feet Over Notorious Stretch of Highway 1 in Calif., 4 in Critical Condition

When they first arrived, Pottenger said that authorities did not know how many people were inside, but that they could see there was "movement in the front seat."

"We knew we had at least one person that was alive," he added. "We were actually very shocked."

Pottenger said from the scene that authorities "come out here unfortunately all too often for things like this" and the victims "never live," he stated, per the AP. "This was an absolute miracle."

Uncredited/AP/Shutterstock Helicopter assisting in dramatic Tesla rescue © Provided by People Uncredited/AP/Shutterstock Helicopter assisting in dramatic Tesla rescue

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Patel is being treated at Stanford Hospital. He will be booked at San Mateo County Jail after he's discharged. The current health status of his wife and children is not clear.

PEOPLE was not immediately able to reach a hospital representative from Patel's place of employment, but on Tuesday, the medical center released the following statement: "Providence Holy Cross Medical Center is deeply saddened to learn of a traffic incident involving one of our physicians and his family. We are extremely grateful there were no serious injuries. We will not respond further, as this incident is under investigation."

It is unclear whether Patel has issued a plea to the charges against him, or retained a lawyer who can comment on his behalf.

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