The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office has filed charges against Saratoga councilman and congressional candidate Rishi Kumar for his alleged involvement in a September hit-and-run.
Kumar, who’s challenging Congresswoman Anna Eshoo (D-Palo Alto) for her District 18 seat in 2020, has been charged with a misdemeanor hit-and-run causing property damage. If found guilty, the councilman could spend up to six months in county jail and/or be subject to a fine of up to $1,000.
The collision occurred on Sept. 26 near Wolfe Road and Pruneridge Avenue in Cupertino, according to court records. Authorities say Kumar was traveling southbound in the second lane on Wolfe Road when he rear-ended a stopped vehicle. The impact then caused that second driver to hit the car in front of them, according to police.
“[Kumar] reversed his vehicle when he got an opportunity, and then drove forward next to [Driver] 2 on the passenger side,” according to court documents. “Driver 2 made eye contact with [Kumar]. [Kumar] raised his hand at Driver 2. Driver 2 raised his hand in response to ask for a minute because he was on the phone. Driver 2 was not sure why [Kumar] raised his hand.”
It was at this point when the second driver realized that Kumar was “not going to stop to exchange insurance information and told the dispatcher,” per court records. Santa Clara County Sheriff's Deputy Lauren Romero reportedly then located Kumar traveling southbound on Miller Avenue toward Bollinger Road a short time later.
Back at the scene of the impact, Kumar reportedly told deputies that “traffic was going slow” and that he did not realize the car in front of him was at a stop.
“[Kumar] intended to stop in the nearby parking lot to exchange information because he did not want to be in traffic,” the incident report said. “[Kumar] made a hand motion at Driver 2 to indicate to Driver 2 to make a right turn into the Hilton parking lot. [Kumar] said Driver 2 was on his cell phone and ‘waved off’ [Kumar].”
The councilman took the second driver's wave as an indication that he “did not want to exchange information.”
Kumar's Tesla had minimal front damage, the second vehicle had minor rear end damage and moderate front damage and the third vehicle had minor rear end damage. No injuries were reported.
Kumar, who did not respond to multiple requests for comment, is scheduled to be arraigned on Nov. 25 at the Palo Alto courthouse.