Driver flees to Thailand following fatal hit-and-run in Oakland Township

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published February 8, 2023


An Oakland Township woman has fled the United States following a fatal hit-and-run crash on New Year’s Day, according to the FBI.

In a criminal complaint filed Feb. 6, the FBI said that Tubtim “Sue” Howson, 47, flew to Thailand two days after she struck and killed 22-year-old Benjamin 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 5:45 a.m. Jan. 1. A resident of Shelby Township, Kable was a student at Michigan State University and was home for the holiday break. The speed limit where the crash occurred is 50 mph.

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.

Investigators narrowed down that the car was a 2016-208 BMW 3 series, due to car parts left behind at the scene.

On Jan. 5, deputies received information about the possible location of the suspect vehicle, which led to the recovery of a white 2016 BMW 320i owned by Howson at a residence not far from the crash scene at Rochester Road and Whims Lane in Oakland Township. 

Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard credited a concerned citizen with providing information that led to the seizure of the vehicle.

“I knew the community would do everything they could to help us locate the driver involved in this tragic death,” Bouchard said in a statement. 

At that time, an Oakland Township resident had been named as a person of interest in the crash, but no arrests were made.

The person of interest has now been identified as Howson.  She was reportedly on her way to work at a Birmingham grocery store when she fatally struck Kable and fled, according to reports.

“Howson, a United States Citizen, is originally from Thailand and allegedly told a close associate after the crash she thought she killed somebody and was going back to Thailand,” states the complaint. “When encouraged to turn herself into police, Howson allegedly stated ‘no cops, no cops.’”

Howson then bought a one-way ticket in Detroit Jan. 3 and traveled alone, according to travel records reviewed by the FBI. She landed in Thailand on or around Jan. 5 after making connecting flights.

The criminal complaint states that Howson traveled “with intent to avoid prosecution and/or imprisonment for ‘failure to stop at the scene of an accident resulting in serious injury or death.’” 

A federal warrant charging Howson with interstate flight to avoid prosecution — a five-year felony — was signed Feb. 2 by Magistrate Anthony P. Patti of the U.S. District Court – Eastern District of Michigan.

Oakland County prosecutors charged Howson Feb. 2 with failure to stop at the scene of an accident resulting in death, also a five-year felony. 

Bouchard said the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office is working closely with the FBI to return Howson to Michigan.

“I am proud of the work our team did to identify this individual and learn that she had fled the country right after the accident,” Bouchard said in a statement. “We immediately engaged our partners at the FBI to keep them in the loop as we sought warrants so that they in turn could seek federal warrants for flight. I call on the Thai government to extradite her so we can hold her accountable for her actions involving this young man’s tragic death.”

The FBI’s Detroit Field Office is working to locate Howson, according to James A. Tarasca, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Detroit Field Office.

“The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office has worked tirelessly to identify the person responsible for the death of Benjamin Kable. The FBI is now assisting in the effort to locate that person,” Tarasca said in a statement. “We value our strong partnership with Sheriff Bouchard and the men and women of the Oakland County Sheriff's Office, and we will provide all necessary resources to return Tubtim Howson to Oakland County and bring her to justice.”