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Police arrest driver of Tesla that plunged off 'Devil's Slide' cliff with children inside: 'An intentional act'

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Image source: YouTube screenshot

Police arrested a California man on Tuesday after they say he drove his Tesla off a cliff — with his wife and two children inside the car — in an attempt to kill them.

What is the background?

On Monday, police rescued two children and two adults from a Tesla that had plunged more than 250 feet off a cliff known as "Devil's Slide" in northern California. The area is known for fatal car accidents.

The occupants were seriously injured, but they survived.

The California Highway Patrol's initial investigation ruled out Tesla's auto-pilot features and road conditions as cause for the crash.

What are police saying now?

Law enforcement revealed on Tuesday they believe the crash was intentional and arrested the driver, Dharmesh A. Patel.

"CHP investigators worked throughout the night interviewing witnesses and gathering evidence from the scene," the California Highway Patrol said in a statement. "Based on the evidence collected, investigators developed probable cause to believe this incident was an intentional act."

Police have not released further details, including the motive for the alleged crime.

According to the Associated Press, Patel is a doctor in radiology at the Providence Holy Cross Medical Center, which is located in Los Angeles. In a statement, the hospital declined to comment other than to express gratitude that Patel's family was not gravely injured.

The statement said:

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.

Patel is being criminally charged with attempted murder and child abuse. He will be booked into jail upon his release from the hospital.

Tesla driver who 'intentionally' plunged off 250-ft California cliff survives and is arrestedwww.youtube.com

Brian Pottenger of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection told NBC News that it is "very, very rare" for anyone to survive a crash and fall like the one that Patel's family experienced.

"We were actually very shocked when we found survivable victims in the vehicle. So that actually was a hopeful moment for us," he said.

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