A family of four is in the hospital — with Dad waiting to be arrested for intentionally causing an accident — after they Tesla Model Y plunges into a 250-foot abyss to the rocks below in California earlier this week. The deadly steep cliffs on this stretch of road have claimed many lives, but these four survived thanks to excellent technique and a bit of old-fashioned luck.
Dharmesh Patel charged with knowingly driving his family car Tesla Model Y off a cliff called Devil’s Slide on Monday morning. The vehicle fell from a height of 250 feet onto a ledge next to the Pacific Ocean with his wife and two children, aged seven and five, also in the vehicle. The area is so notorious for deadly crashes that first responders at the scene assumed it was a recovery operation. It was only when motion was detected in the crash that they realized there were survivors. The whole family is still in the hospital, with Patel set to be placed in a San Mateo, California cell, on charges of attempted murder and child abuse upon his release.
The Model Y is considered an extremely safe car, boasts the lowest risk of an SUV rollover on the road according to testing by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It also earned the highest score from the Highway Safety Institute since its introduction in 2020. It is not crash-tested from 250 feet, nor is it crash-tested. it is rated to function as a boat “…for a while.” Sure, the roof sometimes detached from a number first from the elementy, but once it’s back, what a home!
NBC contacted two professors: Jingwen Yu of the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute and Jose Granda, a professor of mechanical engineering at California State University. Yu and Granda agree with both the Model Y’s unique design and the special cushion landing that led to the family’s survival:
In Granda’s view, the SUV could have plunged down at up to 80 mph – a rapid fall most likely blunted by rocks and sand. He compared the landing pad to a ball pit at Chuck E. Cheese.
“You have a reason why these people are alive,” he said.
He said the battery in the car’s underbody most likely kept the car from tilting forward, like a car with an engine under the hood.
For Yu, the SUV appeared to have hit a cliff as it plunged into the sea.
Yu said “driving” incidents tend to be more deadly than frontal or side-impact crashes. While the images showed a heavily damaged vehicle, Yu said its integrity appeared to be intact.
“The occupants still have a living space,” he said. “That’s remarkable.”
So far, police have not discussed a motive for the crash. Neighbors in their Pasadena community describe the family as “…a beautiful, simple family with no signs of problems,” according to the report. LA era.