Driver in DUI killing of ex-KTVU news director sentenced

KTVU's longtime news director Fred Zehnder and Dennis Richmond, on the day of Richmond's last newscast. May 2008.

A man has been sentenced to probation and ordered to go to rehab after being convicted in a 2021 crash in Alameda that killed former KTVU news director Fred Zehnder.

Michael Alexander Williams, 33, pleaded no contest in October to felony vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated in the crash that killed Fred Zehnder. Zehnder was in a crosswalk at Lincoln Avenue and Walnut Street in June 2021 when he was hit by a Ford pickup truck driven by Williams.

Williams remained at the scene. Alameda police later determined he was driving under the influence. Investigators said in court records that Williams was served four shots of whiskey and four beers over a three-hour period at a local bar.

Williams was sentenced last month to more than two years in jail. With credit for time served, he was released from custody. Judge Scott Patton of Alameda County Superior Court also palced him on three years of probation and ordered him to attend an 18-month in-patient alcohol rehab program.

Zehnder, 87, was credited with the success of the Ten O'Clock News on KTVU, where he was news director from 1978 until his retirement in 1999. At the time of his death, he was publisher and editor of the San Leandro Times and Castro Valley Forum, both weekly newspapers.

Henry Lee is a KTVU crime reporter. E-mail Henry at and follow him on Twitter @henrykleeKTVU and