Defense attorney Jalal Dallo argues bond on behalf of his client, Tubtim “Sue” Howson.

Defense attorney Jalal Dallo argues bond on behalf of his client, Tubtim “Sue” Howson.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Oakland Township woman arraigned on charges in fatal hit-and-run crash

By: Mary Beth Almond | C&G Newspapers | Published March 21, 2023

 Shelby Township resident Michael Kable, father of Benjamin Kable, comments to the news media after the arraignment at 52-3 District Court in Rochester Hills.

Shelby Township resident Michael Kable, father of Benjamin Kable, comments to the news media after the arraignment at 52-3 District Court in Rochester Hills.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


OAKLAND TOWNSHIP — An Oakland Township woman who fled to Thailand following a fatal hit-and-run crash on New Year’s Day has been arraigned on a felony charge upon returning to Michigan.

Tubtim “Sue” Howson, 57, was arraigned March 17 in 52-3 District Court on a charge of failure to stop at the scene of an accident resulting in death, a five-year felony. A not-guilty plea was entered on her behalf.

In a criminal complaint filed Feb. 6, the FBI said Howson flew to Thailand Jan. 3, two days after she struck and killed 22-year-old Benjamin Kable on Rochester Road in Oakland Township.

“It’s very difficult when you lose a child. Obviously, it’s like the worst thing you could go through, and we are still dealing with it,” said Michael Kable, Benjamin’s father, of Shelby 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.

Howson’s attorney, Jalal Dallo, said Howson went to Thailand “in a panic” to see her husband, who travels for work.

“She doesn’t, perhaps, understand the laws here in the United States, so she went there. She wasn’t fleeing to hide or escape. She needed support. She went there because her husband was there,” Dallo said.

Howson’s husband reportedly returned to the United States and spoke with deputies on Jan. 5.

On Jan. 14, Howson was found by police in the western province of Ratchaburi. The Oakland County 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 Feb. 22. Howson was then brought to San Francisco on a federal charge of unlawful flight to avoid prosecution, punishable by up to five years in prison.

The federal case, Dallo said, has since been dropped, which cleared the way for her return to Michigan March 15.

During Howson’s arraignment, Oakland County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Andrea Ajlouni requested that bond be denied, or set at $5 million.

“When we look at the severity of this offense … not only was it a tragic death, but this defendant is already known for leaving the scene, hence the charge,” Ajlouni said.

Dallo argued that Howson is not a flight risk, since her Thai and American passports and driver’s license have been taken away by authorities and her husband is now with her in Michigan.

“She was scared. She panicked. The panic has subsided; that’s over now,” he said.

Judge Lisa Asadoorian set Howson’s bond at $1 million cash or surety, with the condition that if she posts bond, she will be under house arrest with a GPS tether with no exceptions for work or medical appointments. She was also ordered to not possess or consume alcohol or contact the Kable family.

“You can run, maybe out of panic, but you can’t hide, ” Asadoorian said.

Asadoorian also questioned whether Howson is done panicking.

“We are extremely pleased we have our suspect in custody in Oakland County, and we thank Judge Asadoorian for her attention to the fact that clearly the defendant has been a flight risk to the extreme,” Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard said in a prepared statement. “I look forward to her being held accountable.”

Following the arraignment, Michael Kable said that knowing Howson doesn’t have her passports — or license —  provides some comfort.

“I was hoping for no bond, but I trust the justice system and really believe in the judge,” Kable said.

At press time, Howson’s probable cause hearing was set for 11:30 a.m. March 24 and her preliminary hearing was set for 10 a.m. April 6.