Crackdown on Crime: Cold Case

By Marty Briggs - bio | email

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) -  Almost one year ago this very night, a Lake Charles man was killed on one of our city's busiest streets.  It happened in front of a crowded bar filled with Halloween revelers.  30-year-old Brian Birdsong died as a result of a hit-and-run accident that remains unsolved to this day.  Investigators and family members hope that someone will step forward and provide a vital piece of information that could help solve this case.

Brian Birdsong was leaving a local Lake Charles bar on Halloween night, crossing Ryan Street on the way to his parked car.  Only he never made it.  Linda January, Brian's mother, says she recalls the night vividly.  "His friend came and knocked on the door and told me that he had got hit, but he did not tell me that he was in a hit-and-run and that he had passed away.  On my way to the hospital, the ambulance driver called me and told me to meet him at St. Pat's, and I knew something didn't feel right at the time," says January.

Despite the fact that this took place on one of the busiest streets in Lake Charles, in front of a place filled with people -- unbelievably -- authorities are having a hard time finding anyone who will come forward with information.  Sgt. Mark Kraus with the Lake Charles Police Department says, "Somewhere, Marty, somebody knows about what happened in this case.  It may be a passenger in this vehicle, it may be, obviously, the driver.  Or it may be somebody who's afraid or concerned about getting involved, and we encourage those people to come forward with that information so we can close this case."

The bar's surveillance video from the night of Birdsong's death shows patrons rushing to assist Birdsong moments after he was struck.  It also shows the vehicle detectives believe is the hit-and-run driver.  "What we do know about the vehicle is that it's a white, single-cab Chevrolet or GMC vehicle, it was headed northbound, it has a headache rack on the back window, which prevents materials from coming into the window, so it's a truck that at one time was used for loading and transporting items.  We again know that it was traveling northbound, and we believe that it could be occupied by two people," says Sgt. Kraus.

The driver who hit Birdsong immediately fled the scene, and so far, has managed to elude authorities.  "Sometimes these cases are a matter of good people that made a bad decision. The driver of this vehicle may have been a good person who panicked in the event and left, and is now walking a year with this on his conscious, looking over his shoulder waiting for the police officer to show up at his house or his job.  If that person can come forward with that information and give an explanation as to why he left, sometimes -- and I'm not saying in this case -- but sometimes, there is some compassion from the District Attorney's part, or the judges part, or even the victim's family's part, that sometimes this person receives a lighter sentence for coming forward and closing the case out," adds Kraus.

Birdsong's mother would like closure, and is urging anyone with information to please contact authorities.  "I know someone saw something, and I'm asking whoever saw anything to just come forward," says January.

Just one call could solve this cold case.

If you have any information regarding the hit-and-run death of Brian Birdsong, you're urged to call the Lake Charles Police Department at 491-1311.