Driver who fled to Thailand following fatal hit-and-run enters no-contest plea

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published June 21, 2023

 Tubtim “Sue” Howson

Tubtim “Sue” Howson


OAKLAND TOWNSHIP — An Oakland Township woman who fled to Thailand following a fatal hit-and-run crash on New Year’s Day has pleaded no contest, according to court records.

Tubtim “Sue” Howson, 57, of Oakland Township, entered the no contest plea June 14 in Oakland County Circuit Court to a felony charge of failing to stop at the scene of a serious personal injury accident, meaning she will avoid trial.

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 in 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. She was brought to San Francisco on a 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 March 15 to face charges in the traffic crash.

At press time, Howson was scheduled to be sentenced at 1 p.m. July 26. She faces up to five years in prison and is being held in the Oakland County Jail on a $1 million bond. Howson’s attorney, Jalal Jamil Dallo could not be reached for comment at press time.