Suspect in fatal hit-and-run of MSU student faces arraignment Friday

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

An Oakland Township woman accused of fatally striking a Michigan State University student with her vehicle on New Year's Day then fleeing to Thailand is scheduled to be arraigned Friday, officials said.

Tubtim “Sue” Howson, 57, was returned to Michigan on Wednesday to face charges in the death of Benjamin Kable, 22, the Oakland County Sheriff's Office said in a statement.

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.

An arraignment is slated for 11:30 a.m. Friday before Judge Lisa Asadorian at 52-3rd District Court in Rochester Hills, according to the release.

Howson, who had been in custody in San Francisco for several court hearings to clear the way for her return, is charged with failure to stop at the scene of an accident causing death.

“I greatly appreciate the assistance of the Thailand authorities and our federal partners who worked tirelessly with us to bring this woman back and to hold her accountable,” said Oakland County Sheriff Michael Bouchard. “It’s hard to imagine how you could drive away and leave a person in the road that you had struck and killed. It will never fill the void for the family but hopefully it brings them a measure of closure.”

Howson is accused of hitting Kable shortly before dawn Jan. 1 on Rochester Road, south of Whims Lane. The fatal incident occurred after an Uber driver dropped off the Shelby Township resident on the side of the road following a New Year's Eve party.

Benjamin Michael Kable

Howson, a Thai American who lives in Oakland Township, allegedly never called police and flew to Thailand on a one-way ticket on Jan. 3.

Investigators obtained a description of the vehicle, and a tip led to identifying Howson as a suspect.

Sheriff’s officials had help from the FBI, U.S. Marshals and law enforcement officials from Thailand.

During a news conference last month in Thailand, Howson said she had been driving to work in the dark and thought she had struck a deer. She said she spotted a body, tried to call police but didn't due to shock.

Authorities reported on Feb. 24 that Howson had voluntarily returned to the United States.

"Howson was taken to an undisclosed location in Michigan by U.S. Marshals who accompanied her from San Francisco, where she had been held since Feb. 22," the Sheriff's Office said. "The location was not released for security reasons."