Soldier faces murder charge after reportedly forcing ‘unruly’ 5-year-old boy out of car near highway, where he was struck by traffic

A 35-year-old active-duty Army sergeant at Fort Benning, Georgia, faces murder charges in the death of his girlfriend’s 5-year-old son.

What are the details?

Authorities said that as Bryan Starr drove down a dark and rainy Alabama highway, he pulled over and forced 5-year-old Austin Birdseye — who was described as being “unruly” in the vehicle — to get out of the car.

Shortly after Starr reportedly made Austin leave the car, the child was fatally struck by a passing vehicle. He died Sunday at a local hospital.

Starr told deputies that the child was misbehaving in the car, which prompted him to pull into a parking lot off the highway and demand that the child get out of the vehicle. The child obliged, but Starr said he lost track of the child completely until he saw other cars stopped along the highway and suspected the worst. During that time, the child apparently wandered into the highway and was struck by the passing vehicle.

Russell County Sheriff Heath Taylor said that an accident at that point was unavoidable.

“There’s no indication that [the driver who struck Austin] had any chance of not hitting the little guy,” Taylor told reporters.

Taylor marveled at Starr’s treatment of the child.

“What do you say to that? What is your thought process when you tell a 5-year-old child to get out of the car on a rainy night because they were being loud in the car?” he added.

The state police are working with the local sheriff’s office to conduct an investigation into the child’s death.

The New York Post reported that Austin was struck just two miles from the home he shared with Starr and his mother, Christina Birdseye. Birdseye was not in the vehicle at the time of the incident.

According to Newsweek, Starr faces a reckless murder charge in connection with the incident.

What else?

In a statement obtained by WTVM-TV, a spokesperson for Fort Benning said that it is cooperating with the investigation.

“Starr, 35, from Marengo, Illinois, is assigned to 3rd Squadron, 16th Cavalry Regiment, 316th Cavalry Brigade, has 17 years of service. His previous assignments include the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California; Fort Bliss, Texas; Fort Knox, Kentucky; and Schofield Barracks, Hawaii. He has one combat deployment to Iraq,” a portion of the statement read. “We are deeply saddened by this tragic event and extend our heartfelt condolences to the family of the deceased.”

6 thoughts on “Soldier faces murder charge after reportedly forcing ‘unruly’ 5-year-old boy out of car near highway, where he was struck by traffic

  1. That is absolutely horrible! His lack of judgement at his age and number of years served is beyond belief. I am retired Navy CPO with 21 years. He has destroyed her life, his career is finished, and a little boy is now dead. My condolences go out to her in this tragic time.

  2. This is an evil evil animal. He has no right to breath the same air as humans. He should be chained behind an automobile and made to run until he falls, then dragged until nothing remains but his empty evil head.

  3. Justified charges. But here we had a mother put a son out along the interstate, although about 12, and drove off but she got custody of the children in the divorce.

  4. Don’t coddle kids, military teaches discipline which is what the kid was receiving. The Sargent did not force him onto the road, he let him out in a parking lot to walk off his attitude. It was an accident and no more.

    1. Yes and no. Mostly no. While he may have been correct in pulling off the road and into a parking lot, it was raining and the child was apparently looking for a dry place when forced out of the dry vehicle. An Army NCO should know better than that. What he should have done was pull into a parking lot and talk to the defiant kid about his behavior and that it was unacceptable and discuss the punishment for his misbehavior. This child has the mind and temperment of a 5 year old which is to be expected. The Sargent on the other hand has the temperment of a 12 yr old at best which is NOT expected nor acceptable!

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