Silicon Valley executive Jeffrey Donnelly MBA ’92 killed in bicycle accident

Nov. 9, 2015, 10:52 p.m.

Jeffrey Donnelly MBA ’92, chief operating officer of Silicon Valley company Zeta Instruments, was fatally hit by a car last Tuesday while biking down Page Mill Road in Palo Alto, according to the Palo Alto Online.

A black 2014 Volkswagen Golf hit Donnelly around 6:50 a.m. The crash occurred near the intersection of Christopher Lane in Los Altos Hills. According to Lieutenant Zach Perron of the Palo Alto Police Department, this is actually a piece of unincorporated Santa Clara county land.

The driver, a 19-year old Palo Alto man, stayed at the scene. His name has since been released by the California Highway Patrol (CHP).

Neither drugs nor alcohol seemed to play a role in the accident, according to the San Jose Mercury News. CHP officer Art Montiel told the Mercury that the case is still under investigation.

The accident has called into question the safety of Palo Alto’s roads after years of proposed initiatives by county and city officials to improve vehicle traffic around Page Mill Road.

The City of Palo Alto released the “Page Mill Road Expressway Corridor Study Report in June 2015, and suggested improvements include a $17 million initiative to widen Page Mill to six lanes. Another is a provision for a $6 million trail on the south side of the road between Deer Creek Roadway and the I-280 Interchange.

However, despite these tentative initiatives, Palo Alto residents see the death of Donnelly as a sobering reminder of the dangers of day-to-day vehicle traffic. Long-time colleague and Zeta Instruments CEO Rusmin Kudinar commented on the situation in the Silicon Valley Business Journal.

“Everybody at work loved [Jeffrey],” Kudinar said. “He was a good man — a good friend. He was a very well-rounded, very bright person.”

Donnelly was previously a U.S. navy nuclear engineer officer for five years. He received his master’s degree in business administration from Stanford University. He started his career as a product line manager for Varian Medical Systems in 1993 before becoming the founding CEO of BlackHog Inc. — a venture-backed software company.

Donnelly is survived by his wife and three children.

Contact Stefan Lacmanovic at stefanl ‘at’


A previous version of this article stated that the accident occurred in Palo Alto. The accident occurred on unincorporated Santa Clara county land. The Daily regrets this error.

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