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Crash-Causing Startup CEO Slapped With Hit-and-Run Charges

Scott Lucas | May 15, 2014 | Story Tech World

Nirav Tolia, the CEO of social network Nextdoor, was named in two parallel legal actions this week, both stemming from allegations that he caused a crash on Highway 101 last August. Here's what we know:

Tolia is named in a criminal charges of one count of felony hit and run. He's also been named as the defendant in a civil suit seeking damages on claims of negligent driving and inflicting emotional distress.

According to both sets of charges, Tolia and his wife and their child were driving north on Highway 101 just south of San Francisco on a Sunday afternoon last summer when Tolia's car swerved into the right next to him. That caused the car next to him to also swerve out of control, though Tolia is not alleged to have struck it, spinning in front of Tolia before crashing into the center median. Tolia continued driving, rather than stopping, but witnesses followed him and took down his license plate number.

For his part, Tolia has said that he did not see the other car hit the median, and that he kept driving because he was "shaken" and "in shock." He also said that other drivers at the scene had indicated that they would be calling 911—which Tolia did not do.

Earlier in the week, Tolia told NBC Bay Area: "I just learned about this lawsuit tonight and will cooperate fully with authorities. This is a personal matter that happened last August and is not related to Nextdoor."

The driver of the other car—a Honda Del Sol—has been identified as Patrice Motley, an executive recruiter from San Francisco. Her attorney was quoted as saying of Tolia's companies neighborhood focus, "The irony is not lost on anyone that a good neighbor doesn't flee the scene. If a car is honking at you, and you watch it spinning out of control, what do you think is going to happen?"

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