Driver given $1M bond in fatal hit-and-run of Michigan State student in Oakland County

Tubtim ‘Sue’ Howson faces state, federal charges for Jan. 1 crash

OAKLAND TOWNSHIP, Mich. – The driver charged with fatally striking a Michigan State University student who was walking in Oakland County on Jan. 1 was arraigned Friday and is being held on a $1 million bond.

Tubtim “Sue” Howson, 57, of Oakland Township, is accused of hitting 22-year-old Benjamin Kable, who was walking on southbound Rochester Road near Whims Lane early on New Year’s Day when he was killed. She has been charged with failure to stop at the scene of an accident resulting in death, a felony charge that carries up to five years in prison.

Kable, a Michigan State University senior originally from Shelby Township, was home for the holidays and reportedly walking home from a party when the fatal crash occurred. Investigators linked the BMW involved in the crash to Howson, who is said to live near the crash site.

Authorities seized the BMW in question from an Oakland Township home on Jan. 5, but did not make any arrests at that time. It was discovered soon after that Howson fled to Thailand to avoid facing charges, according to the FBI.

“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 FBI said in a criminal complaint last month. “When encouraged to turn herself in to police, Howson allegedly stated, ‘no cops, no cops.’”

Howson, who is a dual citizen of the U.S. and Thailand, bought a one-way flight out of Detroit on Jan. 3 and began her journey to Thailand. She was picked up by authorities in Thailand and brought back to the U.S. in February, where she was taken into custody by the FBI upon arrival.

A photo of Howson involved in a news conference in Thailand can be seen below.

Deputy National Police Chief Surachet Hakpal, left, talks to reporters with Tubtim "Sue" Howson, 57, during press conference at police headquarter in Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2023. Howson allegedly struck Michigan State University student Benjamin Kable, 22, shortly before dawn on Jan. 1. She flew to Thailand on a one-way ticket on Jan. 3, according to U.S. authorities. (Royal Thai Police via AP) (Royal Thai Police via AP)

Howson was arraigned Friday, March 17, at the 52-3rd District Court in Rochester Hills. She’s being held on a $1 million bond with no 10% option. Officials say she is being lodged at the Oakland County Jail.

“Our goal is to obtain justice for Benjamin Kable and his family and to hold the person who hit him and left the scene accountable,” Oakland County Prosecutor Karen McDonald said Friday. “The defendant’s return to Michigan and the arraignment today are the next steps toward those goals.”

Benjamin Kable, 22 (Right) (WDIV)

In addition to Howson’s state charge, she’s also facing a federal charge of interstate flight to avoid prosecution. She was originally scheduled to be arraigned on that charge earlier this week, but that hearing was postponed.

Howson is scheduled to appear in court next for a probable cause conference on March 24. A preliminary exam has been tentatively scheduled for April 6, officials said.

About the Author:

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