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Nextdoor CEO pleads no contest to hit and run charge

By Sarah McBride

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Nextdoor CEO Nirav Tolia, whose social networking website espouses neighborhood safety and community, pleaded no contest Thursday in a San Mateo court to a misdemeanor for leaving the scene of a highway accident that a driver says Tolia caused.

Tolia will pay a $239 fine, spend 30 weekend days in a county program in lieu of 30 days' jail time, serve two years' probation, and will be responsible for restitution to the victim, said San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe.

Tolia originally faced felony criminal charges, but Wagstaffe said he reduced them to a misdemeanor "hit and run causing injury" because of Tolia's forthrightness in admitting his role in the accident.

"I’m glad he accepted responsibility right up front and never tried to lie about what happened or avoid responsibility," he told Reuters.

The work program includes activities such as picking up litter or trimming weeds along public roads and at schools, Wagstaffe said.

“I am relieved that after further examination of the facts, the DA reduced the charge to a misdemeanor and that Thursday's hearing brought the matter to a close," Tolia said in a statement.

The incident occurred in August when executive recruiter Patrice Motley lost control of her car after Tolia swerved into her lane. Her Honda del Sol spun across two lanes and crashed into the median on Highway 101 near Candlestick Park, south of San Francisco, she stated in court documents in a separate civil case.

Tolia drove his wife and child home in their black BMW X5 SUV without stopping or calling 911, the lawsuit stated. Witnesses wrote down his license plate number and gave it to authorities.

Tolia told police in an interview he was shaken and did not call 911 because he was in shock. Last month, he said he was saddened by Motley's injuries and was troubled by the incident.

Ten years ago, Tolia resigned as chief operating officer of Shopping.com after the company learned he had lied about the status of his Stanford University degree and previous work experience.

Nextdoor has raised just over $100 million from backers including Benchmark, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Tiger Global. Its last funding, a $60 million round in October, valued the company at more than $500 million.

(Editing by Matt Driskill)

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