An Alabama man is facing a reckless murder charge after investigators say he made the 5-year-old son of his live-in girlfriend get out of a vehicle because he was ‘being unruly,’ leading to the boy being struck by another vehicle on a busy highway on a dark, rainy night.
Russell County, Alabama Sheriff’s investigators say the deadly crash happened Sunday night around 8:00 p.m. along Hwy 165. The 5-year-old boy has been identified as Austin Birdseye.
According to investigators, 35-year-old Bryan Starr told detectives the child was being unruly in the vehicle, so he pulled over in the rain at a church and told the boy to get out. Starr told investigators he lost track of the boy in the rain.
Investigators say the boy wandered onto the busy highway and was struck by another vehicle. Birdseye died later at Piedmont Columbus Regional.
“It’s just horrific. I can’t imagine the mother’s grief that she is going through. It’s just tough. What do you say to that? What is your thought process when you tell a 5-year-old to get out of the car on a rainy night because they were loud in the car? It’s just heartbreaking,” said Sheriff Taylor.
Taylor said Birdseye’s mother was not in the vehicle at the time of the deadly incident. Starr and Birdseye were just a few miles away from the home the couple shares in Fort Mitchell when Starr told the child to get out of the vehicle.
Officials do not know how long the child was outside of the vehicle before being hit.
The incident is under investigation.
Starr was booked into the Russell County Detention Facility.