Woman who fled to Thailand after hit-and-run that killed MSU student agrees to return to U.S.

A Thai-American woman living in Michigan who fled to Thailand after allegedly being involved in a hit-and-run accident that killed a college student has agreed to return to the United States to face charges, police said Wednesday.

Tubtim "Sue" Howson, 57, allegedly struck Michigan State University student Benjamin Kable, 22, shortly before dawn on Jan. 1, and according to U.S. authorities, flew to Thailand on a one-way ticket on Jan. 3. The accident took place in Oakland County, Michigan.

A state charge of failing to stop at a serious accident was filed on Feb. 2. and a federal charge related to her flying out of the country was filed on Feb. 6.

Thai deputy national police chief Surachate Hakparn, speaking at a news conference also attended by Howson, announced she intends to return to the United States to face charges, and preparations were being made for her to fly back before Sunday.

"I left home for work around 5.30 a.m. to 6 a.m. It is the winter time and it was very dark. There was usually nobody walking on the road there, except deer," Towson said, recounting the accident. She said she initially thought she had hit a deer, but when asked later why she fled to Thailand, responded that when she saw Kable’s body, she thought he must be dead.

"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," she said.

The FBI, when it filed a federal charge against her, noted in a court filing that she was originally from Thailand and allegedly told a close associate after the crash that she thought she killed somebody and she was going back to Thailand.

MORE: Family ‘crossing fingers’ after suspect in death of Ben Kable flees to Thailand

"When encouraged to turn herself in to police, Howson allegedly stated, ‘no cops, no cops,’" FBI agent Matthew Schuff said in the filing.

Towson arrived in Thailand on Jan. 5, and police said they started to trace her on Jan. 12 at the FBI’s request, finding her on Jan. 14 in the western province of Ratchaburi, where they suggested she turn herself in.

Thailand and the U.S. have an extradition treaty, and if a suspect challenges an extradition order, it must go through a Thai court, which can be a lengthy process.

Surachate said Howson has been working and living in Michigan with her family and two children for more than 20 years.

"We did not arrest her. After she knew the facts, she showed the intention to accept the punishment in the U.S.," he said. "This will be a good example for Thai society."

Mike Kable is Ben's father.

"Losing a sibling and a child is the worst burden you can bear," said Mike Kable. "It's been an emotional roller coaster for the last month and a half. We're relieved, very happy, you know - that finally there was going to be some justice for Ben - we know it's not going to bring him back, but it's a step toward closure."

Kable credits the Oakland County Sheriff's Office and federal authorities - for staying on the case. Howson is facing charges of fleeing the scene of an accident causing death, as well as fleeing the Kables know, there's still a long way to go in their quest for closure.

This Spartan family is now thinking of the other Spartan families reeling from Monday's mass shooting at MSU.

"I guess the one other thing - to other parents out there - is just cherish your time with your kids," he said.

Their daughter, Sarah, Ben's sister, is also a Spartan. She was locked down in her apartment just blocks from the shooting on Monday on the phone with her mother for hours.

The Kables are so grateful she's okay - but so heartbroken for others.

"It's terrible knowing that other families in this area are going to have to go through this after the shootings at MSU," he said. "Our hearts go out to them - we know how terrible this is. I don't wish it on anyone - but faith in god - that can help a lot."

Faith, family, friends - for the Kables - their support system. And now knowing the suspect in their son's death is due back in Michigan this weekend - hope - that there will be justice for Ben.