By Henry Lee
San Francisco Chronicle
BRISBANE, Calif. — The CEO of Nextdoor, a social network designed to help neighbors connect with each other and police, was charged Wednesday with felony hit-and-run for allegedly fleeing a crash on Highway 101 in Brisbane that left a woman injured.
Nirav Tolia, 42, is also facing a civil lawsuit accusing him of negligence and intentional infliction of emotional distress in the crash last year that injured Patrice Motley of San Francisco.
"It's ironic that the CEO of a company that is holding itself out as trying to promote neighborliness, crime watch and things like that flees the scene of an accident that he caused and doesn't bother to call 911 or stay around to exchange information or see if he caused any injuries," said Motley's attorney, Joseph Brent.
Tolia is to appear May 29 in San Mateo County Superior Court in the criminal matter. He has not responded to the civil suit, which was filed Tuesday in San Francisco Superior Court and seeks unspecified damages.
Tolia said in a statement Wednesday, "I just learned about these allegations and will cooperate fully with authorities."
The charges stem from an incident Aug. 4, when Motley was driving home from San Francisco International Airport in her Honda del Sol.
As she headed north on Highway 101 in Brisbane with her boyfriend and her dog, a bichon frise, Tolia was driving with his wife in a BMW X5 to her left.
"Impatient to overtake a slower vehicle in front of him," he began moving his sport utility vehicle into her lane, the suit said.
Motley honked, but Tolia did not realize what was happening until his wife alerted him, the suit said.
Tolia moved back into his lane, but by then Motley had lost control of her car, spun 180 degrees and hit the concrete median, the suit said. She suffered fractures in her left hand and neck and back injuries.
Tolia and his wife saw the crash but never stopped, the complaint said.
Tolia "gambled" that no one took down his license plate number, Brent said. But witnesses did, and police tracked him down at his home in San Francisco's Pacific Heights.
Tolia told police he had fled the scene because he was "shaken" and hadn't called 911 because he was in shock, the complaint said.
Tolia's Nextdoor is a neighborhood-based social network designed to help residents and police communicate with each other. Tolia appeared with Oakland police at a news conference at Mosswood Park last month to tout a partnership between the firm and the Police Department.
Petaluma police said Tuesday that they would be using the service.
McClatchy-Tribune News Service
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