A driver was sentenced to between one and five years in prison just months after fatally striking a college student on a dark Michigan road, leaving him to die, and fleeing the country to avoid arrest.
Tubtim “Sue” Howson, 57, pleaded no contest in an Oakland County court back on June 14 to a charge of failure to stop at the scene of a serious personal injury accident. She will serve her time in a Michigan prison and received 132 days credit for time served.
Benjamin Kable, 22, a senior at Michigan State University, had been visiting home for the winter break when he was out walking the early morning hours of New Year’s Day.
Witnesses described seeing him walking in the southbound lane of Rochester Road, south of Whims Road. That was when a vehicle heading south struck him.
“Witnesses stated the vehicle continued south, turned around to go north, and remained in the area for a short period of time after the crash,” documents said. “The driver of the vehicle then fled the scene after the incident. [The victim] suffered fatal injuries as a result of the crash and died at the scene.”
A GoFundMe campaign to support Benjamin’s family has raised $12,702 of a $25,000 goal as of Thursday.
“An accident can happen, but what came afterward makes it even worse,” Ben’s father Mike Kable told Detroit ABC affiliate WYZ in an emotional interview in January, when the family had no idea who killed their son.
He described the street where his son was struck as having no sidewalks, no lights, and “not even a decent shoulder,” he said.
“No place to really walk,” he said.
Mike Kable told the outlet his son did not have a winter coat on.
According to a federal criminal complaint, Howson told another person that she believed she killed someone and that she was returning to her birth nation of Thailand. When encouraged to surrender to police, she emphatically refused.
“No cops,” she allegedly said. “No cops.”
Authorities said Howson flew out on Jan. 3, just two days after Kable died. She traveled from Detroit to Texas to Finland and finally to Bangkok, they said. U.S. and Thai authorities worked together to bring Howson back, and she eventually wound up in custody and back in the U.S., where she was initially detained in San Francisco on Feb. 22 and returned to Michigan on March 15. That same day, federal prosecutors dropped the charge of interstate flight to avoid prosecution.
She voiced an apology to Kable’s family on Wednesday.
“I want to apologize to the family of the victim and the victim himself,” Howson said through an interpreter, according to Detroit Fox station WJBK.
Regardless, Kable’s death leaves behind a void.
“I cannot even think about the future because I struggle to even want to live in a world that my son is no longer in,” his mother, Stacy Kable, said in court. “Losing Ben has broken me and my family.”
Mike Kable minced no words.
“Did you provide any aid or comfort as Ben lay dying on the road? No, you did not,” he said. “Instead you selfishly fled the scene. You left him in the road to be run over again by any oncoming vehicle. Shame on you. You showed no decency, no empathy, or compassion for others.”
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