Driver who fled to Thailand following fatal hit-and-run faces arraignment

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published March 16, 2023


An Oakland Township woman who fled to Thailand following a fatal hit-and-run crash on New Year’s Day has returned to Michigan and will be arraigned March 17, according to police.

Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said in a news release that Tubtim “Sue” Howson, 57, of Oakland Township, was returned to Michigan March 15 to face charges in the traffic crash that killed 22-year-old Benjamin Kable.

“I greatly appreciate the assistance of the Thailand authorities and our federal partners who worked tirelessly with us to bring this woman back and to hold her accountable,” Bouchard said in a statement. “It’s hard to imagine how you could drive away and leave a person in the road that you had struck and killed. It will never fill the void for the family, but, hopefully, it brings them a measure of closure.”

Officials said Howson was arrested in Thailand in February and was brought to San Francisco on her federal charge of unlawful flight to avoid prosecution, punishable by up to five years in prison, which cleared the way for her return to Michigan.

Bouchard said Howson was taken to an undisclosed location in Michigan by U.S. Marshals, who accompanied her from San Francisco, where she had been held since Feb. 22. The location was not released for security reasons. 

Howson is scheduled to be arraigned Friday, March 17 at 11:30 a.m. before Judge Lisa Asadorian in 52-3rd District Court in Rochester Hills. Howson is charged with failure to stop at the scene of an accident causing death, which is punishable by up to five years in prison. Howson did not have an attorney listed at press time.

In a criminal complaint filed Feb. 6, the FBI said that Howson flew to Thailand two days after she struck and killed Kable on Rochester Road Oakland Township. 

According to the complaint, Kable was fatally struck by a vehicle while walking in the southbound lane of Rochester Road, near Whims Lane, at approximately 5:49 a.m. Jan. 1. A resident of Shelby Township, Kable was a student at Michigan State University and was home for the holiday break.

Witnesses saw the fatal crash and told police the driver continued south, turned around to go north and “remained in the area for a short period of time” after the crash before eventually fleeing the scene.

Paramedics from the Oakland Township Fire Department pronounced Kable dead at the scene.

Howson was reportedly on her way to work at a Birmingham grocery store when she fatally struck Kable and fled, according to reports. Two days later, she bought a one-way ticket to Thailand, landing there on or around Jan. 5 after making connecting flights. On Jan. 14, Howson was found by police in the western province of Ratchaburi. The Sheriff’s Office said she was picked up by authorities in Thailand, and she was taken into custody when her return flight landed in the United States.