Disgraced Ex-News Anchor Finds Himself Right Back Behind Bars After Posting Bail

A former prominent San Francisco news anchorman was arrested twice within 12 hours earlier this week in what police and witnesses described as alcohol-related events. Frank Somerville, 65, formerly a longtime news anchor at KTVU-TV, was arrested at about 6:30 p.m. Monday at his parents’ Berkeley Hills, California, home after a “family disturbance,” according to The Berkeley Scanner. The crime news outlet reported authorities saying that Somerville “was inebriated and being violent,” adding that he reportedly threatened his 91-year-old father and got into a fight with his brother. Police told SFGate that Somerville was arrested on suspicion of assault, threatening a crime with the intent to terrorize, public intoxication and a probation violation. He posted $27,500 bail and was released from the Berkeley City Jail, according to that report. Then, at approximately 3:30 a.m. Tuesday, police again were called to his parents’ house on a complaint that he “was back and wouldn’t leave,” per SFGate. According to a police statement, “Somerville returned in an attempt to locate the property he had lost during the initial contact the night prior and could not find it. “In an effort to retrieve his property, Somerville continued ringing the doorbell until the victim spoke with him,” SFGate reported. Police said they found Somerville sitting in his car with “objective signs and symptoms of public intoxication.” [firefly_poll] That time, he was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence and violating probation. Somerville was described by The Mercury News of San Jose as “one of the Bay Area’s highest-paid and most visible TV journalists” when, in June 2021, he took an “indefinite leave of absence” after a May 30 newscast “in which he repeatedly slurred and stumbled over his words,” the outlet reported.
He later explained that he had accidentally taken two tablets of Ambien, a sedative used for insomnia, instead of prescription medicine he intended to take, the Scanner reported. The newscast incident was on video and went viral, making headlines throughout the Bay Area, and led to another leave of absence. Six months later, in December 2021, Somerville was involved in car crash while driving with a blood alcohol level of .24 percent, three times the legal limit, the Scanner reported.

WARNING: The following video contains language that some may find offensive.

The former anchor addressed that incident and other topics in a March 2023 interview with his former station’s rival, KRON-TV. “I got trashed,” Somerville told the outlet. “I mean, there’s no other way to say it. I got trashed in my apartment, and I wanted to go to Taco Bell, which is 2 1/2 blocks away from where I live. I made the idiotic decision to drive. I had absolutely no business at all to drive — at all.” Somerville told KRON he rear-ended a vehicle that was stopped at a light. The other driver got out of his car, but Somerville said he continued driving his black Porsche, pushing the Audi sedan into a pole, totaling it, and causing a minor injury to the other driver. “I have absolutely no recollection of the accident,” Somerville told KRON. “I was close to as comatose as you can be.” He blamed his alcohol use on marriage problems and the pandemic. “What I was trying to do, quite honestly, was just escape,” he told KRON. “I was so sad and lonely from the divorce and missing my kids, and the pandemic sure as hell didn’t help because now I was all alone. I was a total mess.” In September 2021, he was “suspended indefinitely” from KTVU over an argument about coverage of the Gabby Petito murder case, The Mercury News reported. “Sources said he wanted to point out that the U.S. media often disproportionately covers tragedies involving young white women, while largely ignoring similar cases involving women of color and Indigenous people,” according to the outlet, which noted that Somerville has an adoptive daughter who is black. His contract was not renewed after that incident, the Scanner reported. This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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