On January 1, a Michigan State University student died in a hit-and-run while he was home for the holiday break. The driver of the car, Tubtim Howson, has reportedly fled to Thailand to avoid prosecution.
Early on the morning of January 1, Ben Kable, 22, was walking southbound along Rochester Road in Oakland County after getting out of an Uber. He was suddenly struck by a white BMW which paused briefly before fleeing the scene, according to witnesses.
Kable died at the scene around 5:50 am according to the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office.
In a statement, Sheriff Michael Bouchard said, “A terrible crash like this is horrific enough, but to flee the scene and leave a person in the road like trash is unforgivable.”
Days later, police were able to locate the vehicle responsible for Kable’s death, and identified its owner, Tubtim “Sue” Howson, as a person of interest. Howson is a U.S. citizen who is initially from Thailand. She lived in Oakland Township with her husband and kids, and was reportedly on her way to work in Birmingham, MI when she hit the college student.
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After the incident, Howson reportedly told a friend that she thought she had killed someone and that she was going back to Thailand. When her friend suggested she turn herself in to the police, she refused, saying, “No cops, no cops.”
On February 2, an arrest warrant was issued against Howson for failure to stop at the scene of an accident resulting in serious injury or death. However, by this time, Howson had already fled to Thailand.
The Oakland County Sheriff’s Office enlisted the help of the FBI who, on February 6, filed a criminal complaint for interstate flight to avoid prosecution.
An FBI agent has reported that probable cause exists to charge Howson for a felony of interstate flight to avoid prosecution.
Kable’s father, Mike, expressed his shock that someone could kill someone and just take off.
“Just don’t understand how you can live with yourself,” said Mike. “Just the lack of empathy and humanity it would take and then just plot your getaway.”
“Losing your child is terrible, there’s so much grief associated with it, and having the hit-and-run aspect to it just makes it even worse. Finding out that the person fled the country basically to avoid any consequences for their action is disappointing.”
“I mean, it keeps the wound open,” Mike added. “Losing a child or sibling, I don’t think you ever get over it, I think it’s always there. I think over a long period of time you learn to cope somewhat better but this piled on top of it makes it even more difficult… Obviously, there’s some anger involved.”
“All we can do is cross our fingers that we get some justice,” said Mike.
Ben was the second youngest of six siblings and was a senior at Michigan State University.
Howson’s husband was interviewed about the situation. He said, “Not my fault, I wasn’t even in the country. Two families have lost somebody here.”