Alabama man faces murder charge after child forced out of car for misbehaving struck and killed on highway

Published 5:52 am Tuesday, December 1, 2020

An Alabama man and Fort Benning soldier faces a reckless murder charge after he reportedly forced a five-year-old out of a vehicle for misbehaving, leading to the boy being struck by traffic on a busy highway,

Russell County Sheriff’s investigators say the deadly crash happened Sunday night around 8 p.m. along U.S. Hwy 165, near County Road 24.

Bryan Starr, 35 reportedly told deputies that the child, identified as Austin Birdseye, was “being unruly” in the vehicle, so he pulled into a church parking lot in the rain and told the boy to get out. Birdseye who was the five-year-old son of Starr’s live-in girlfriend exited the vehicle. Starr told deputies that he lost track of Birdseye in the rain. The boy reportedly wandered onto the highway and was struck by another vehicle. Birdseye died later at Piedmont Columbus Regional.

Starr, a sergeant first class with 17 years of service, turned himself in after the incident.

Sheriff Heath Taylor says the driver of the vehicle who hit Birdseye was not at fault.  Birdseye’s mother was not in the vehicle at the time of the wreck Taylor said. The accident happened a few miles from the home Starr and his girlfriend share.

Taylor said he did not know how long the child was outside of the vehicle before being hit. Investigators are looking for video from the church parking lot.

Alabama Troopers are investigating the crash along with the Russell County Sheriff’s Office.