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Sheriff: Mom’s boyfriend put 5-year-old out of car for “being unruly” before he was hit, killed by another vehicle

Updated: Nov. 30, 2020 at 9:17 AM EST
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FORT MITCHELL, Ala. (WTVM) - A 5-year-old child has died after being hit by a vehicle in Fort Mitchell Sunday evening.

New details released during a virtual press conference with Russell County Sheriff Heath Taylor suggest the child’s mother’s boyfriend will be facing charges.

According to Sheriff Taylor, 35-year-old Bryan Starr was driving a car when 5-year-old Austin Birdseye began “being unruly” inside the vehicle, so he pulled over and told Birdseye to get out of the car. He then reportedly stated that he lost view of him in the rain.

Sheriff Taylor says at that point Birdseye wandered onto the busy Hwy. 165 near County Rd. 24 where he was struck by another vehicle and killed.

Russell County Coroner Arthur Sumbry Jr. said he pronounced Birdseye dead at 8:51 p.m. at Piedmont Columbus Regional.

Sheriff Taylor says that Starr, who is an active duty soldier at Fort Benning, will be charged with reckless murder. Starr turned himself into the Russell County Sheriff’s Office.

Ft. Benning officials say Starr is a Sergeant First Class assigned to 3rd Squadron, 16th Cavalry Regiment, 316th Cavalry Brigade and has a total of 17 years of service.

Birdseye’s body is being sent to the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences in Montgomery for an autopsy.

The driver of the car involved in the crash is not facing charges. The crash itself is being investigated by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency.

Fort Benning released the following statement:

Sgt. 1st Class Bryan Starr turned himself into the Russell County, Alabama, sheriff’s office regarding the tragic death of a 5-year-old boy in his care.


Ben Garrett, Manuever Center of Excellence

Fort Benning is cooperating with local law enforcement officials.


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.

We are deeply saddened by this tragic event and extend our heartfelt condolences to the family of the deceased.

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