Indian-American Doctor Gets Mental Therapy, Not Jail, for Attempted Murder

During the trial, it was revealed that Patel had been experiencing severe mental health issues in the weeks leading up to the crash
On Thursday, a US court ruled that Patel was eligible for a 'mental health diversion' program, a legal provision that allows defendants with significant mental illnesses to receive treatment instead of incarceration. (Representational image: Pixabay)
On Thursday, a US court ruled that Patel was eligible for a 'mental health diversion' program, a legal provision that allows defendants with significant mental illnesses to receive treatment instead of incarceration. (Representational image: Pixabay)

Dharmesh Patel, an Indian-American radiologist from California, will receive mental health treatment instead of jail time for driving his Tesla off a cliff with his wife and two young children in January 2023. Patel, aged 42, drove the car, with his family inside, off the 250-foot Devil's Slide cliff in what was initially seen as an attempted murder.

Patel's wife, Neha, revealed that he had intentionally driven off the cliff. However, during the court proceedings, psychologists testified that Patel suffered from a psychotic breakdown and major depressive disorder at the time of the incident. They stated that Patel believed his children, aged four and seven, were in danger of being sex trafficked, which led to his drastic actions.

The crash occurred on Highway 1, and miraculously, the family survived despite the car plunging into the Pacific Ocean. Following their rescue, Neha testified that she did not want her husband to face prosecution, which played a significant role in the court's decision.

They stated that Patel believed his children, aged four and seven, were in danger of being sex trafficked, which led to his drastic actions. (Representational image: Unsplash)
They stated that Patel believed his children, aged four and seven, were in danger of being sex trafficked, which led to his drastic actions. (Representational image: Unsplash)

During the trial, it was revealed that Patel had been experiencing severe mental health issues in the weeks leading up to the crash. Diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder and major depressive disorder, he was reportedly hearing footsteps and believed he was being followed. This paranoid and delusional thinking culminated in his decision to drive off the cliff in a misguided attempt to protect his family from what he perceived as a worse fate.

On Thursday, a US court ruled that Patel was eligible for a 'mental health diversion' program, a legal provision that allows defendants with significant mental illnesses to receive treatment instead of incarceration. Superior Court Judge Susan M. Jakubowski made the decision based on the doctors' diagnosis and ordered Patel's release to his parents' custody in California.

As part of the program, Patel will be monitored with GPS, required to report to the court once a week, and prohibited from traveling outside the country. He also has to surrender his driving license and passport. The next court hearing to finalize the details of his release and treatment plan is scheduled for July 1.

(Input from various media sources)

(Rehash/Susmita Bhandary/MSM)

On Thursday, a US court ruled that Patel was eligible for a 'mental health diversion' program, a legal provision that allows defendants with significant mental illnesses to receive treatment instead of incarceration. (Representational image: Pixabay)
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