Driver who fled to Thailand following fatal hit-and-run returns to U.S.

Woman awaits extradition to Michigan

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

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OAKLAND TOWNSHIP — An Oakland Township woman who fled to Thailand following a fatal hit-and-run crash on New Year’s Day has returned to the United States to face charges, according to police.

Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said in a news release that Tubtim “Sue” Howson, 57, of Oakland Township, is back in custody within the United States while she awaits a detention hearing that would clear the way for her return to Michigan.

Officials said Howson was arrested in Thailand last month and brought to San Francisco, pending extradition to Michigan.

On March 3, the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office said Howson had yet to return to the state.

Stephen Huber, a spokesperson for the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office, said Howson was awaiting a March 9 hearing in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco on her federal charge of unlawful flight to avoid prosecution. The hearing was set to occur after press time.

“The outcome will ultimately help determine when she is to be returned to Michigan to face the state charge here,” he said.

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.

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.

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.

Howson faces a federal charge of interstate flight to avoid prosecution and a state charge of failure to stop at the scene of an accident resulting in death. Each charge is punishable by up to five years in prison.