California Doctor Who Drove Off Cliff in Failed Murder-Suicide Bid Avoids Trial Due to Mental Health Episode

California Doctor Who Drove Off Cliff in Failed Murder-Suicide Bid Avoids Trial Due to Mental Health Episode

Dharmesh Patel, who drove his family off a cliff in a failed murder-suicide attempt, avoids trial due to a major depressive disorder diagnosis. Patel will undergo a strict two-year mental health treatment plan.

California, Bollywood Fever: Dharmesh Patel, a 42-year-old doctor who drove his family off a cliff in an apparent murder-suicide attempt during a mental health episode, will not stand trial. Patel pleaded not guilty to the attempted murder of his wife, Neha, and their two children, aged 4 and 7, following the incident on January 2.

Patel intentionally drove their Tesla off a 330-foot cliff on the Pacific Coast Highway in Devil’s Slide, San Mateo, California. Although his family told paramedics he had tried to kill them, his wife later urged authorities to allow Patel to return home.

California Doctor Who Drove Off Cliff in Failed Murder-Suicide Bid Avoids Trial Due to Mental Health Episode

Judge Susan Jakubowski granted this request, citing Patel’s mental health episode as the cause of his actions. According to the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office, Judge Jakubowski found that Patel’s major depressive disorder had a direct nexus to the criminal conduct, as testified by psychologists.

“Weighing all factors, the court determined the defendant was suitable and granted the defense request for mental health diversion,” Judge Jakubowski ruled. Patel must adhere to a stringent two-year treatment plan led by James Armontrout, director of the Stanford Forensic Psychiatry Fellowship, to avoid criminal prosecution. He will remain in jail for several more weeks before being released to live with his parents in Belmont.

Under the court’s order, Patel will stay under house arrest for two months, monitored by an ankle bracelet. He must attend weekly court progress reports and undergo bi-weekly medication compliance tests. Patel is also banned from consuming alcohol or drugs, must surrender his driver’s license and passport, and is prohibited from driving or possessing weapons.

Patel is set to appear in court on July 1 to finalize his release and treatment plan. Psychologists testified that Patel had shown increasingly delusional behavior leading up to the crash, culminating in a one-time psychotic episode. He believed his children were at risk of being sex-trafficked and was consumed with fears about various global crises, including Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the fentanyl epidemic.

California Doctor Who Drove Off Cliff in Failed Murder-Suicide Bid Avoids Trial Due to Mental Health Episode

Expert witness Dr. Mark Patterson explained that Patel’s actions were driven by paranoid and delusional thinking aimed at protecting his family from perceived dangers. He emphasized that Patel is now motivated and amenable to treatment, showing no delusions since being held without bail.

Patel’s wife pleaded for his release, emphasizing the family’s need for him and the impact of his mental health episode on his actions. Support from Patel’s family, including his wife’s relatives, was evident during court proceedings.

Despite the severity of the charges, Patel’s attorney, Joshua Bentley, argued that Patel had no prior criminal history and described him as a loving family man who experienced an acute mental health crisis. Bentley assured the court that the Mental Health Diversion program would address all of Patel’s issues through intensive outpatient treatment and regular monitoring.

Prosecutors argued that the diversion program could endanger both Patel’s family and the community, citing concerns about his reliability in reporting symptoms and adherence to medication. They stressed the risk of Patel’s potential return to delusional behavior.

In the end, the court favored the defense’s argument for mental health diversion, highlighting the importance of Patel’s ongoing treatment and the potential for his rehabilitation.

Patel’s next court appearance will outline the details of his treatment plan and monitor his progress as he works towards recovery under the supervision of his medical team.

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Pooja Chauhan

Pooja Chauhan: Your Source for Entertainment and Box Office News Pooja Chauhan is a passionate writer and dedicated journalist specializing in delivering the latest updates and insights from the world of entertainment and box office. With a keen eye for detail and a deep love for cinema, Pooja brings her readers accurate and engaging coverage of all things related to movies, celebrities, and the dynamic world of showbiz. Her commitment to keeping her audience well-informed and entertained makes her a valuable voice in the realm of entertainment journalism. When she's not busy uncovering the latest scoops, Pooja enjoys exploring classic films and indulging in creative writing." Contact us:

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