Radiologist who drove family off cliff looks set to escape jail

Radiologist Dr. Dharmesh Patel is eligible for a mental health diversion program instead of going to trial for attempted murder in driving his car and family off a Bay Area cliff last year, a San Mateo County, California, Superior Court judge ruled.

Judge Susan Jakubowski's ruling could lead to a dismissal of all charges against Patel if he successfully completes a two-year treatment program overseen by Stanford University’s forensic psychiatric fellowship, local Pasadena Now reported on 21 June.

Testimony revealed that at the time of the incident Patel feared for the safety of his two children. All four people in the car, Patel, his wife, and children, survived the crash. Patel has been diagnosed with major depressive disorder.

Patel’s wife testified in support of the release. However, under the terms of the diversion program, Patel will remain in jail for several more weeks before being released to live with his parents in San Mateo County.

Patel pled not guilty. He is still prohibited from practicing medicine.

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