WATERFORD TOWNSHIP (WWJ) – A Walled Lake woman accused of carjacking an elderly man before running him over and killing him has been charged with murder in Oakland County

Ruth Pozdol during video arraignment in 51st District Court in Waterford with Judge Richard Kuhn Jr. (WWJ/Jon Hewett)

Ruth Pozdol is seen on screen during video arraignment in 51st District Court in Waterford with Judge Richard Kuhn Jr. (credit: Jon Hewett/WWJ)

Police say 38-year-old Ruth Pozdol checked out of a rehab center before taking the keys to 76-year-old Clifford Van Haywald’s Chevy pickup truck Sunday morning outside a Burger King on M-59 near Williams Lake Road.

Van Haywald tried to stop her from driving away and was run over, police said. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

Pozdol was arrested Sunday night and arraigned in 51st District Court video feed from the Oakland County jail, where she remains behind bars after a judge denied bond. She’s charged with committing murder during a felony and faces automatic life imprisonment without parole if convicted as charged. 

As for a motive, Detective Sgt. Brent Ross said Pozdol took the truck after her husband wouldn’t come pick her up.

He said Pozdol, a mother of two, has a history of narcotics abuse and was on her way to buy drugs.

“Her desire to score heroin exceeded her respect for human life,” Ross said.

According to reports, Van Haywald was a regular customer at the fast-food restaurant where employees called him “Pops.”

Van Haywald’s granddaughter, Amber Davis, wept Tuesday as she spoke to reporters.

“We will be here until the end to make sure she stays in jail for the rest of her life,” Davis said. “I want her to know that, not only did she hurt my family, but she hurt her own family…And she took the best friend away from a 3-and-a-half-year-old little boy, so I just want her to know that she’s destroyed my family now.”

The incident remains under investigation.  Anyone with information should call Waterford Police Det/Sgt Brent Ross at 248 618-6105. Or to stay anonymous, contact the Tip Line at 248-674-COPS.


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