Michigan woman who fled to Thailand after student’s hit-and-run death has been given $1million bond
The Michigan woman who fled to Thailand after being involved in a fatal hit-and-run accident that killed a college student has been given $1million bond in a court hearing.
Tubtim “Sue” Howson fatally struck Michigan State University student Ben Kable with her 2016 BMW 320i on Jan. 1 at 5:49 a.m., according to the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office.
After the incident, Howson flew Jan. 3 to Bangkok, Thailand. Howson is a US citizen and originally from Thailand, according to travel records reviewed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Judge Lisa Anderson posted $1 million bail at an arraignment hearing on Friday, saying she traveled to another continent after the alleged crime, according to FOX 2. Howson is accused of not not be stopped at the scene of a crime resulting in serious impairment or death as well as a federal charge for fleeing the country.
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“You bought a one-way ticket and traveled eight thousand miles to another continent,” Asadorian said. “Your bail in this case will be $1 million cash, surety, not ten percent.”
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Assistant District Attorney Andrea Ajlouni initially asked that bail be denied or set at $5 million in cash, adding that Howson is a major flight risk
“Not only was there a tragic death, but this defendant is already known to have left the scene – hence the charge,” Ajlouni said. “Your Honor, this breach occurred on January 1st. This defendant fled the country on January 3. She didn’t leave Oakland County, she didn’t even leave the state of Michigan, she fled the country.
Howson’s lawyer, Jalal Dallo, argued that she was not at risk of fleeing and flew to Thailand to see her husband who was overseas for work.
“The reason she left is to be with her family. She left in a panic, she didn’t know what to do. She’s never been in a situation like this,” Dallo said. “She wasn’t running to hide or escape. She needed support. She went there. Her husband was there.
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Her husband returned to the United States with Howson in February. Dallo told the hearing that Howson surrendered to police in Thailand before asking Asadorian to release the woman on personal bond.
“They thought she would come back on her own and she did – here she is – not because she was forced to, because she did it on her own,” Dallo said.
Asadorian didn’t believe it and noted that law enforcement in two countries had to work to get Howson back to the United States.
“There has been a delay in these legal proceedings and this delay was caused by you, and there will be no further delay,” Asadorian said.
If Howson posts bail, she will be placed under house arrest and must wear a GPS monitor.
Michael Kable, Ben’s father, said he was happy to see justice coming.
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“It’s very hard to lose a child. Obviously it’s the worst thing you can go through, it’s an emotional roller coaster and we’ll have a few hills left,” Kable said. “I’m just happy to see that justice is finally here.”
When others encouraged Howson to turn herself in, she reportedly said “no cops, no cops,” an FBI official wrote in a court document.
At the request of the FBI, Thai police began following Howson on January 12 and tracked her down on January 14, suggesting that she surrender and return to the United States.
An FBI spokesperson said Howson arrived in San Francisco on February 24 and was subsequently taken into federal custody.
At a press conference held by police in Thailand, Howson said she thought she was going to be robbed before hitting Kable, according to the Bangkok Post.
“I thought I was about to be robbed…I was looking at the car on the side of the road. It was dark, then I hit something in front of me…At first, I thought I had hit a deer, but later realized I had hit a man,” Howson said.
“I didn’t think I would run away, but I was very shocked. I tried to call the police but my hands were shaking. I couldn’t do anything,” she added.