FBI: Driver charged in hit-and-run of Michigan State student in Oakland County has fled country

Woman flew to Thailand after crash, complaint says

OAKLAND TOWNSHIP, Mich. – The driver believed to be responsible for fatally striking a 22-year-old Michigan State University student who was home for the holidays has reportedly fled the country.

In a criminal complaint filed Monday, Feb. 6, the FBI is accusing Oakland Township resident Tubtim Howson of fatally striking Benjamin Kable, who was walking on southbound Rochester Road near Whims Lane, last month.

Kable, originally from Shelby Township, was a senior at MSU and was home for the holidays. On Jan. 1, he was reportedly walking home from a party when he was fatally hit by a car.

The driver fled the scene after remaining “in the area for a short period of time,” witnesses reported. Kable was pronounced dead when first responders arrived.

According to the complaint, witnesses saw the fatal crash and were able to identify the vehicle and interact with the driver before the driver fled. Police were looking for a BMW 3 series from between 2016-2018, along with an Asian woman driver, in connection with the crash.

On Jan. 5, police seized a white BMW at a home not far from the crash scene, believing it was the vehicle involved in the crash. An Oakland Township resident was then named as a person of interest, but no arrests were made at that time.

That person of interest has now been identified as Howson, who also goes by the first name Sue. Authorities claim she was on her way to work in Rochester Hills on Jan. 1 when she fatally struck Kable.

The FBI believes the woman, who is about 58 years old, fled the country after the crash and headed for Thailand.

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

Howson reportedly bought a one-way ticket out of Detroit and flew out of the state on Jan. 3. She is believed to have arrived in Thailand on Jan. 5 after making several connecting flights.

Howson is accused of traveling internationally “with intent to avoid prosecution or imprisonment” for fleeing the crash scene. She has been federally charged with interstate flight to avoid prosecution. She has also been charged in Oakland County with failing to stop at a scene resulting in serious impairment or death.

Thailand does have an extradition agreement with the U.S., and will allow extradition requests under certain circumstances. In the court document filed Monday, it was not said whether an extradition request was made.

The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office said Wednesday that it is “working closely with the FBI to return Howson to Michigan,” and that members of Detroit’s FBI field office are “working to locate Howson.”

You can read the entire complaint against Howson below.

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Cassidy Johncox is a senior digital news editor covering stories across the spectrum, with a special focus on politics and community issues.