Dr. Dharmesh Patel, the radiologist at the center of the shocking Tesla Devil's Slide incident, made his first appearance in court Friday and said he has major depressive disorder that would qualify him for a diversion program with no prison time.

Patel faces charges of attempted murder after allegedly intentionally driving his Tesla Model Y off of Devil's Slide, just south of San Francisco, with his wife and two young children inside in January. Remarkably, despite the 250-foot plunge, all occupants of the Tesla survived the crash, despite serious injuries.

Having previously pleaded not guilty to the charges, Patel maintained that the incident occurred due to tire issues with his vehicle, as the Mercury News reported. The defense team had previously argued that the tire malfunction caused an uncontrollable loss of control.

However, conflicting statements emerged from the scene. Witnesses reportedly said that the car never appeared to brake as it careened off the road, and Patel's wife allegedly told first responders that her husband had intentionally driven off the cliff. According to the Mercury News, court records reveal she told a California Highway Patrol officer at the time that, “He said he was going to drive off the cliff. He purposely drove off.”

Now, Patel’s defense team has requested a mental health diversion, asserting that Patel suffers from a major depressive disorder, according to KRON4. During the court proceedings, Patel's attorneys argued a mental health diversion program would be more appropriate justice for him with his "treatable mental illness." However, it would also let him off the hook from all felony charges.

California’s mental health diversion program offers qualified defendants the chance to have their cases dismissed if they successfully complete intensive treatment. That is, defendants must be diagnosed with a mental illness directly linked to the alleged crime and treatable within the program's timeframe (two years for felony cases and one for misdemeanors). It's usually for defendants who suffer from bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). Offenses like sex crimes and murder charges aren’t eligible, but Patel’s most serious charge of attempted murder is.

On Friday, the judge has scheduled a follow-up session at the end of the month to determine the eligibility of Patel for the mental health diversion program. That process that can take months, according to the Mercury News .

In the meantime, Patel has reportedly been banned from practicing medicine.

Image of Devil's Slide via California Department of Fish and Wildlife.