Driver who fled to Thailand following fatal hit-and-run sentenced to prison

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published July 31, 2023




An Oakland Township woman who fled to Thailand following a fatal hit-and-run crash on New Year’s Day will head to prison.

Tubtim “Sue” Howson, 57, of Oakland Township, was sentenced to one to five years in prison July 26 after she pleaded no contest to a felony charge of failing to stop at the scene of a serious personal injury accident. She will receive credit for the 132 days she has already served in the Oakland County Jail.

In a criminal complaint filed Feb. 6, the FBI said that Howson flew to Thailand two days after she struck and killed 22-year-old Benjamin Kable on Rochester Road Oakland Township.

“I want to apologize to the family of the victim and the victim himself, what happened,” Howson said, through an interpreter, during sentencing. 

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 Howson 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.

Kable’s parents, Stacey and Michael, spoke directly to Howson during the sentencing. 

Stacey Kable wore her son’s plaid jacket to court.

“I’m wearing his jacket, which is all I have to wrap my hands around. I turn to you, as a mother to mother, which is why I can't understand how you could leave him, who you have roughly the same age as mine, in the road like garbage after hitting and killing him,” Stacey Kable said.

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. 

On Feb. 1, Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald charged Howson with one count of failure to stop at the scene of an accident resulting in death. 

“Losing a child is every parent’s worst nightmare. Today’s sentence is an important step in holding the individual responsible for this unimaginable act,” McDonald said in a statement. “While today’s sentence will not fill the void left behind, I hope that it brings the family, friends, and loved ones of Ben Kable some level of solace.”

Howson has been ordered to have no contact with the Kable family.