Seven months after a slurring on-air performance that he attributed to mistakenly taking Ambien, and three months after he was abruptly taken off the air a second time, KTVU anchor Frank Somerville was arrested Thursday night after allegedly rear-ending a car in a downtown Oakland intersection and then pushing that car into a pole.
As NBC Bay Area reports, Somerville was arrested and booked into Santa Rita Jail Thursday on suspicion of diving under the influence.
The crash occurred around 7:45 p.m. at the intersection of Grand Avenue and Broadway. Video from the scene shows a dark blue Porsche, identified as Somerville's, pushing another vehicle through the intersection and into a utility pole.
Somerville's car allegedly collided with the other vehicle first, after which the driver of that vehicle got out of their car, and then the Porsche can be seen pushing the other car into the pole.
Somerville has been on the anchor desk at KTVU since 2008, and he's worked for the station since 1991. His future at the station has been in doubt since he disappeared from the 10 O'Clock News broadcast in late September. At the time, it was reported that he had been suspended by management over a disagreement over coverage of the Gabby Petito case — and many fans came to Somerville's defense, given that he was arguing that news outlets gave disproportionate coverage to the disappearances of attractive young white women, a phenomenon that late PBS news reporter Gwen Ifill coined "missing white woman syndrome," despite many missing persons cases involving people of color going unreported.
But it seemed then and earlier that there was more going in Somerville's dispute with the station. Over Memorial Day Weekend, Somerville appeared visibly out-of-sorts during the nightly broadcast, and had trouble reading from his teleprompters. He was abruptly removed from the air, which concluded without him, and he disappeared from the air without official explanation until mid-August.
Somerville's contract was reportedly up in the new year, and it seemed likely the station was waiting out that expiration.