A Thai woman who left America after an alleged hit-and-run incident has agreed to return to face her punishment.
The woman, Tubtim “Sue” Howson, allegedly struck Michigan State University student Benjamin Kable, 22, before dawn on January 1. Kable was killed and Howson allegedly fled to Thailand over fears of being arrested and charged with his murder.
The 57 year old, who lived in the US state of Michigan, allegedly fled to her home country of Thailand by purchasing a one-way ticket.
US police say they filed charges against Howson that included failing to stop at a serious accident (a state charge), and a federal charge related to her leaving the country.
According to ABC News, Thai deputy national police chief Surachate Hakparn said Howson intends to return to the US to face charges. He says preparations are underway for her to return to the US before Sunday.
Howson commented on her alleged hit-and-run accident by saying she thought she had hit a deer. But then she says she saw Kable’s body and fled to Thailand after realising he was dead.
“I left home for work around 5.30am to 6am. It is wintertime and it was very dark. There was usually nobody walking on the road there, except deer.”
“I did not think I would run away, but I was very shocked. I tried to call the police but my hands were shaking. I could not do anything.”
According to the FBI, Howson told a close associate that she thought she killed somebody and was going back to Thailand.
When the associate encouraged her to turn herself in, she said, “No cops, no cops.”
After she arrived back in Thailand, Thai police traced her at the FBI’s request, finding her in the western province of Ratchaburi.
As Thailand and the US have an extradition treaty, if a suspect challenges an extradition order, it must go through a lengthy Thai court process.
Surachate says Howson was living and working in Michigan with her family for more than 20 years.
He says they encouraged her to turn herself in.
“We did not arrest her. After she knew the facts, she showed the intention to accept the punishment in the US. This will be a good example for Thai society.”
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