OAKLAND — A Bay Area man was sentenced to three years of probation and an alcohol rehabilitation program — on top of the 406 days he already served in prison — for the 2021 DUI crash that killed former KTVU news director Fred Zehnder.
Michael Williams, 33, pleaded no contest to a charge of vehicular manslaughter last October. He was released from jail pending sentencing, which was finalized last month, according to court records.
Zehnder, 87, was struck by Williams’ truck around 10 p.m. on June 27, 2021, while crossing the street in the 2200 block of Lincoln Avenue in Alameda. After hitting Zehnder, Williams stopped and called 911, police said at the time. He then admitted to drinking four beers and four shots of whiskey at a bar that evening, according to court records.
Williams’ attorney, Colin Cooper, said his client completed the rehabilitation program and has been sober for months. He described Williams as a veteran who served in Afghanistan and added that he felt “just terrible” about the accident.
“He is a sincere, contrite, truly honest human being who will always feel horrible about what he did,” Cooper said.
Williams initially posted bond after his arrest on charges of involuntary manslaughter and drunken driving, but was arrested and booked without bond after missing a court appearance in 2022, records show. He was released last year after qualifying for the rehabilitation program.
Williams technically received 812 days credit for time served; the 406 days he actually spent in Santa Rita Jail were doubled for good behavior, according to state law. He also had to submit to regular drug and alcohol testing, according to court records.
Zehnder worked at KTVU for 21 years until his retirement in 1999. During his tenure at the Oakland-based station, Channel 2 received numerous journalism awards and “The Ten O’Clock News” became the news highest-rated TV show in the Bay Area. market, easily ahead of its competitors. After leaving KTVU, Zehnder remained committed to local journalism as founder of the San Leandro Times and owner of the Castro Valley Forum.
News Source : www.mercurynews.com