‘We Need Him in Our Lives’

Dharmesh Arvind Patel was accused of driving his family’s Tesla off a 250-foot cliff with his wife and two children inside

Facebook Dharmesh A. Patel and his family pose for a photo

The wife of the man who allegedly drove his car over a California cliff with his family inside is asking the judge to rule against prison time in his case, instead saying that he needs mental health treatment.

Now, over 16 months after Dharmesh Arvind Patel was accused of driving his family’s Tesla off a 250-foot cliff at Devil’s Slide on Jan. 2 and charged with three counts of attempted murder, his wife Neha Patel shared a statement in court (via Zoom ), asking for a judge to consider mental health treatment, per The San Francisco Chronicle, The Mercury News and other outlets.

“I don’t want to see Dharmesh prosecuted with any of his charges,” Neha said on the morning of Thursday, May 2, per The Chronicle. “I am pleading with the court to grant him his mental health fun.”

Dharmesh’s defense attorney Josh Bentley previously said in February, per KNTV, that his wife did not want him to face prosecution.

Uncredited/AP/Shutterstock Dharmesh Patel

Related: Father Who Drove His Family Of 4 Off Cliff Suffered Psychotic Break, Doctors Say

As previously reported by The Los Angeles Times, San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said two doctors had testified that Dharmesh was suffering a psychotic break at the time of the crash leading him to believe his two children may be sex trafficked. Doctors for the defense also reportedly said he suffered from major depressive disorder.

Neha, their 7-year-old girl and their 4-year-old boy were all in the car with Dharmesh at the time of the January 2023 crash.

The LA Times Previously noted that the radiologist pleaded not guilty to his charges and was seeking mental health diversion — which would have him released from jail and put on a two-year treatment plan if granted.

“Seeing my kids in constant pain is one of the hardest things I’ve had to endure,” Neha told the judge Thursday. “Once I tuck my children into bed at night I’m reminded of my own solitude. I really miss my best friend. “I really miss my partner in my life.”

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Ace TheChronicle reported, Judge Susan Jakubowski will determine if Dharmesh poses a public safety threat and if mental health contributed to his decision. Neha spoke at the second day of the hearing for 10 minutes, describing her husband as a “productive member of society” who she’s about to celebrate 16 years of marriage with.

Neha also described Dharmesh as a father on Thursday, sharing that their son came into her bedroom crying once to ask, “When is Daddy coming home?” He’s taking so long and I miss him,” according to The Chronicle. She also revealed that their daughter has held onto the last gift he bought her, a stuffed sea turtle.

“We need him in our lives and it has been over a year and a half since my children or I have seen or spoken to Dharmesh,” she said, according to the outlet. “We are not a family without him.”

“The mental health treatment… will not only restore him back to himself, but will restore our family,” Neha added.

Facebook Dharmesh A. Patel poses for a photo with his family

Related: Neighbor of Calif. Family Driven Off Cliff by Father Says, ‘We Don’t Know What Goes on Behind Closed Doors’

Per The Chronicle’s most recent report, Deputy District Attorney Dominique Davis called on sole witness Dr. Yan Chan on Thursday, as he testified that he reached the diagnosis of schizoaffective disorder for Dharmesh. The Mayo Clinic reports that the illness is “marked by a combination of schizophrenia symptoms, such as hallucinations or delusions, and mood disorder symptoms, such as depression or mania.”

Chan added that Dharmesh showed signs of “underreporting” his symptoms and told first responders that the crash was an accident initially, but TheChronicle. Chan also revealed that, at one point, the doctor believed his mailman was “out to get him,” and as the outlet noted, Chan was worried that outpatient treatment would be a “ripe environment for these kinds of brewing thoughts to come back. ”

Neha said in court that her husband “never had an episode” in the 25 years that she knew him.

“Now that we understand and know he has a treatable condition, things will be different,” she said. “I want members of the court to know the health and safety of my family is of paramount importance.”

Wagstaffe previously told PEOPLE that both parents were injured in the crash, their daughter was hospitalized and their son was left with “bumps and bruises, but no injuries.” Neha allegedly told paramedics that “he (Patel) intentionally tried to kill us,” per Wagstaffe.

“She made that statement when asked, ‘What happened? What happened?’ “Wagstaffe said at the time. “‘He intentionally tried to kill us.’ …We have multiple people who heard her say that.”

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