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Nextdoor CEO responds to felony hit-and-run charges

May 15, 2014, 6:58 PM UTC

FORTUNE — One day after being charged with felony hit-and-run related to an August 2013 accident, Silicon Valley entrepreneur Nirav Tolia is beginning to talk about the incident.

In an emailed statement, Tolia says:

On August 4, 2013, I was driving north on Highway 101 and attempted to make a lane change. After seeing another car approaching, I returned to my lane. My car made no contact with the other vehicle and I did not believe that my actions had caused the driver of that car to lose control. I was unaware that anyone was injured and did not believe that I was obligated to report the event.

I fully cooperated with the police investigation back in August providing an honest account of events and full access to my car for inspection. I was not issued a citation at the time and did not receive any further communication from the police. Nine months later, on May 13, I was alerted to charges being filed by the District Attorney.

I am truly saddened by the other driver’s injuries and deeply troubled by the whole incident. I take these allegations extremely seriously and will continue to fully cooperate with the authorities.

The timing of when Tolia was made aware of criminal charges is important, given that his company raised $60 million last October in a venture capital round co-led by Tiger Global Management and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. If Tolia had no reason to think criminal charges were pending, then it would have been a non-issue during due diligence. Neither firm has yet made a public comment on the case.

Tolia also is facing a civil complaint filed by driver of the other vehicle, Patrice Motley, who claims that she suffered two fractures on her left hand, plus neck and back injuries. His auto insurance company and Motley’s auto insurance company appear already to have settled the property damage claim, but the two sides never successfully reached a settlement on the personal injury claims, thus prompting the civil complaint. My understanding is that those discussions have been ongoing for months but, again, began after Nextdoor raised its funding round.

As for why the civil and criminal charges were filed at virtually the same time — despite being nine months after the incident — Motley’s attorney Joseph Brent said he said no idea. “No one in this office, including me, spoke to the D.A.’s office about this case,” he tells Fortune. “I know why we filed now, but not why they did.”

Tolia is expected to appear in San Mateo County Superior Court in two weeks from today for the criminal matter.

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