Woman accused in hit-and-run killing of MSU student returns to U.S. to face charges

Benjamin Kable
Benjamin Kable

PONTIAC − The driver accused of hitting and killing Michigan State University student Benjamin Kable on New Year's Day voluntarily returned to the U.S. from Thailand to face charges, according to officials from the Oakland County Sheriff's Office.

Tubtim "Sue" Howson, 57, of Oakland Township was arrested upon her return earlier this week and remains in custody, Sheriff Michael Bouchard said in a Friday press release. From an undisclosed location, she awaits a Tuesday detention hearing that would make it possible for her to return to Michigan and face state and federal charges.

“We appreciate the assistance of the authorities in Thailand and are working closely with our partners at the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office to return this defendant to Michigan so that she can be held accountable for her actions,” Bouchard said in the press release. “Details on her return to Michigan will be provided as they become available.”

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, both five-year felonies. The charges stem from a New Year's Day incident when the sheriff's office said Howson struck Kable, 22, of Shelby Township at about 5:49 a.m. on Rochester Road in Oakland Township.

Kable was home from MSU on holiday break and was pronounced dead at the scene. Deputies said whether Kable was standing or walking in the roadway when he was hit was unclear.

Authorities said Howson was on her way to work when she hit Kable and fled the scene. Howson left Detroit on Jan. 3 and traveled from Dallas to Finland and arrived in Bangkok on Jan. 5. An FBI criminal complaint filed by FBI Special Agent Matthew Schuff indicates Howson is a U.S. citizen who is originally from Thailand. Officials from the Oakland County Sheriff's Office have said Howson is a dual citizen of both the U.S. and Thailand.

Schuff suspects Howson told a close associate that she believed she had killed someone in the crash and shared a plan to go to Thailand. Schuff also said Howson allegedly was encouraged to turn herself in to the authorities but responded “no cops, no cops.”

Lansing State Journal reporter Sheldon Krause contributed to this report.

Contact Mark Johnson at majohnson2@lsj.com. Follow him on Twitter at @ByMarkJohnson.

This article originally appeared on Lansing State Journal: Woman accused in hit-and-run killing of MSU student Benjamin Kable returns to U.S.