Waterford Township man arraigned in hit-and-run death

Mike Martindale
The Detroit News

Pontiac — A 55-year-old Waterford Township man with a history of drunken driving has been arraigned in the hit-and-run death of a Pontiac man last week.

Robert James Foster was arrested in connection with the death of Timothy Pressnell, 53, of Pontiac and is jailed in lieu of $25,000 cash surety bond, no 10 percent. He is charged with leaving the scene of a traffic accident causing death and driving while license suspended.

If Foster pays his bond to get out of jail, he must wear an alcohol tether as a condition of release. His next court date has not been scheduled.

“Thanks to a very aware citizen that sent in a tip leading to the arrest of Robert Foster, the family of Timothy Pressnell can have some closure during this difficult time,” Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said. “This individual clearly has no respect for life as his record for unsafe , and unlawful driving has dictated.”

Foster, who also had an outstanding arrest warrant for operating while intoxicated, third offense, has four operating-while-intoxicated arrests, deputies said.

“My brother just returned to Michigan about two years ago and was having some difficulties, had health problems and issues,” said Pressnell’s sister, Ellen Franklin of Holly. “He was doing the best that he could. He was living in a house with two other men, renting out a space in the basement.”

Franklin said her brother, who could not work a regular job because of his health, often resorted to panhandling and walking around the city with an old baby buggy, collecting bottles and cans to turn in for the cash deposit. The activities led some investigators to mistakenly assume Pressnell was homeless, which he was not, Franklin stressed.

“He had family who loved him and he lived with people who cared about him,” she said. “He lived with relatives at first but things didn’t work out. But he was not a thief and never stole. His responsibility in his current living arrangement was to pay the electrical bills. When I picked up his belongings, I found a receipt for $50 he had recently paid to keep the lights on.”

The accident occurred about 7:10 p.m. on Oct. 21 on Telegraph near Menominee in Pontiac. Pressnell, a pedestrian, was trying to cross Telegraph when struck by a 1998 Oldsmobile Bravada driven by Foster, investigators said.

An advisory seeking the suspect vehicle and driver was broadcast by news media and a citizen called in a tip to the Waterford Township police department which alerted the sheriff’s department and led to Foster’s arrest, Bouchard said.


(248) 338-0319