Malibu cops say that Michael Kheop, 44, started to flee in the stolen van at about 1:30 p.m. on Friday during a traffic stop. His wife Meru was in the passenger seat. and she told CBS2 that she wanted him to surrender and assured him that everything would be all right.
But Kheop wanted to get away and allegedly turned toward a 200-foot cliff.
"I said ... 'Get out of the car, we can handle this,'" Meru Kheop told the station. "He said, 'Get out,' and I opened the door, and then that's when the car turned."
"I jumped when it was about to go down," she added.
She made it just in time. Her spouse cascaded down the grassy cliff, but miraculously survived. He eluded cops a second time by allegedly hiding in the brush.
The van was smashed, KTLA reported.
Cops searched for him for five hours. He had escaped -- until Meru Kheop heard a knock at her window that evening. It was Michael, but Meru didn't let him in. She called police who arrested him without incident.
Police charged him with attempted murder for endangering his wife and car theft. His bail was set at $100,000.