KEY POINTS

  • Bryan Starr was charged with reckless murder
  • He lost sight of the child after he forced him out of the car
  • The child’s mother was not in the car when it happened

A 5-year-old boy in Alabama was hit and killed by a vehicle after his mother's boyfriend forced him out of his car "for being unruly," authorities said Monday.

Bryan Starr, 35, who is an active-duty soldier at Fort Benning, has been charged with reckless murder for the death of his girlfriend's child, Austin Birdseye.

Russell County Sheriff Heath Taylor, in a news conference, said Starr was driving with Birdseye on Saturday night. He took the boy for a drive to "calm him down" when he acted up at his home. When the child became unruly inside the car, Starr pulled over at a church parking lot and forced him out of his car as a punishment. He soon lost sight of the child as it was raining outside. The boy wandered into the busy Highway 165 and got hit by another vehicle.

Russell County Sheriff's Department arrived at the scene and rushed the child to the Piedmont Columbus Regional hospital but he was pronounced dead by the doctors, reported CBS News.

 "I can't imagine the mother's grief that she is going through. It's just tough," Taylor said.

car The boy wandered away into a busy highway and got hit by a car. Photo: pixabay

The driver of the car involved in the crash was not charged. 

"We have their information and we've spoken to them, and will speak to them again. But at this point, there's no indication that they had any chance of not hitting the little guy," Taylor said, reported local news outlet KTLA

Starr lived with his girlfriend, Christina Birdseye, at a home in southeast Alabama. She was not in the car with her son while Starr took him for the drive.

Deputies reported that Starr was upset and remorseful when they found him at the scene. He turned himself into the Russell County Sheriff's Office. Starr could face 20 years to life in prison if convicted.

"I can understand trying to discipline a child - I don't understand putting a child out in the rain and losing sight of the child. That's what is just mind-boggling to me. I don't know what he was thinking." Taylor said.