The CEO of neighborhood social media site Nextdoor pleaded no contest to misdemeanor hit-and-run for leaving the scene of an accident by another driver he caused while unsafely changing lanes on Highway 101 last summer.
Nirav Nalin Tolia, 42, must serve 30 days in jail and spend two years on court probation. He must also pay $239 in fines and what restitution is ordered at an Aug. 1 hearing.
The plea deal spares Tolia a preliminary hearing and potentially trial for felony hit-and-run in the Aug. 4, 2013, Brisbane incident that left Patrice Motley with broken bones in her left hand and neck and back injuries. If convicted, he faced up to three years in prison.
Prosecutors only charged Tolia in recent weeks, opting for the felony rather than a misdemeanor because Motley sustained injury. On Thursday, District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe called the resolution “completely good.”
“It’s not a plea bargain so much as a reassessment of the case in light of all the information they gave us,” Wagstaffe said.
Tolia’s SUV did not strike the woman’s Honda Del Sol but prosecutors say he caused her to spin out of control 180 degrees across two lanes of northbound Highway 101 traffic and into the concrete center divider while trying to avoid his lane change just south of the Candlestick off-ramp. Tolia did not stop and continued to his San Francisco home. Police used witness accounts of Tolia’s license plate to track him the following day.
Motley also filed a civil lawsuit earlier this month against Tolia seeking damages for negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Motley claims in the suit that Tolia, driving with his wife and child, was “impatient to overtake a slower vehicle in front of him” when he tried moving into the right lane where she was. Motley honked her horn and Tolia’s wife alerted him to the impending collision which made him get back into his own lane, but the chain of events had already started, the suit stated.
Motley claims Tolia and his wife saw her lose control of the car but fled without stopping to see if she, her passenger or her dog were injured or deceased. Tolia told police he fled because he was “shaken” and didn’t call 911 because he was in “shock,” the Motley suit stated.
Tolia is free from custody on his own recognizance and surrenders to the jail Aug. 2.
He is CEO of Nextdoor.com, a website used by police agencies and neighborhoods to help users connect with each other.
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