Dr. Dharmesh A. Patel is accused of intentionally driving 250 to 300 feet off Devil's Slide cliff near San Francisco with his family inside the car. This is an area known for fatal accidents.
The doctor is in his early 40s and a Pasadena resident.
Investigators say Patel has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder and child abuse in connection with this harrowing rescue from Monday.
Crews rappelled down to the Tesla and rescued Patel and his wife, as well as their 7-year-old daughter and 4-year-old son. The kids were in their car seats and rescuers say that's really what saved them. They were rushed to the hospital by ambulance with musculoskeletal injuries. The parents had more traumatic injuries.
The Tesla appeared to have flipped a few times before landing on its wheels, wedged against the cliff right there near the surf. The California Highway Patrol's investigation says this appeared intentional, based on evidence they collected.
Incident commander, Battalion Chief Brian Pottenger, who's with the Coast Guard Fire Protection District and CalFire says whatever the father's motive, the rescue of those kids and their mother was still a miracle.
"As far as what has recently come to light in the last 24 hours. Yes, I'm surprised. It's heartbreaking and it's disheartening. But I'm not going to let that take away from the fact that two adults and two children went 300 feet over a cliff and we were able to rescue them and they survived," Pottenger said.
As of Wednesday morning, Patel was still in custody at the hospital and officials said he would be charged after he is released.
FOX 11 received a statement from the San Mateo County D.A. which essentially said that once they get the case a review, then they can assess it for the potential filing. But they won't have that until Patel is released from the hospital and then officially booked into the county jail.
Patel works at Providence Holy Cross Medical Center in Mission Hills as a radiologist, according to their website. The hospital released a statement as well saying "We are deeply saddened to learn of a traffic incident involving one of our physicians and his family. We're extremely grateful there were no severe injuries. We will not respond further as this incident is under investigation."