An Alabama soldier has been charged with reckless murder after allegedly forcing his girlfriend’s unruly 5-year-old boy to get out of a car at night along a road where the boy was hit and killed by another vehicle, authorities said.
Army Sergeant Bryan Starr, 35, surrendered to Russell County officials after he was charged with the death of Austin Birdseye, Sheriff Heath Taylor said at a news conference Monday.
Starr from Illinois is stationed at Fort Benning in Columbus, Georgia, the sheriff said. They share a home with the child’s mother, 33-year-old Christina Birdseye, in southeast Alabama near the expanding base.
Court records were not available Tuesday to prove Starr had a lawyer who could speak on his behalf.
Starr told investigators the boy was traveling near their home on the Alabama Highway 165 on Sunday night, so he pulled his Dodge Charger into the church parking lot and sent the boy out into the rain, Taylor said. The child’s mother was not in the vehicle, he said.
The man lost sight of the child, but soon saw cars stopping on the road where the boy was hit by the oncoming Toyota Avalon. The road was dark, the boy was hard to see, and the Toyota driver wasn’t at fault either, Taylor said.
“They have the information, we talked to them, and we’ll talk to them again.” But at this point, there’s nothing to suggest that they have any chance of hitting the little guy. , ”Said Taylor,“ the Ledger-Enquirer reported.
The child died at Columbus Hospital and Starr was charged with murder for showing reckless disregard for the child’s safety, Taylor said.
According to an online campaign to raise money for the boy’s family, Austin often sang along to songs “on top of his lungs” while sitting in a car, but the sheriff said he didn’t understand the man’s actions.
– How about that? What’s your mindset when you tell a 5-year-old to get out of the car on a rainy night because they spoke out loud in the car? he said. – It’s just heartbreaking.