A mourning father whose son was struck and killed by a passing vehicle Saturday night as he walked along a northern Sampson County road is looking for justice, and is offering his own money to get it.
“I am taking out a $5,000 reward leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible,” Phillip Graham said to the Sampson Independent via phone Wednesday. “That’s my boy; I need to do this. I’ve got the money.”
Phillip’s son, Brian Keith Graham, 39, of Dunn, was walking south on Ira B. Tart Road near the Harnett County line when a newer-model Ford Mustang, also traveling southbound, struck him about half a mile south of Jada Allen Road. The collision happened around 9:30 p.m. Saturday, approximately 5 miles east of Dunn.
Phillip Graham, speaking from his Rockingham residence, said his son had recently moved to Dunn, where he was living and working. He was walking to meet a friend that night, according to reports.
“He was just 39 years old, he loved his son — my grandbaby — and he was getting his life turned around,” said Phillip, noting that Brian had been searching for a job and was able to find one in Dunn, necessitating the move there from Rockingham.
In the days that followed the fatal collision, Highway Patrol officials urged the public to be on the lookout for the vehicle believed to have struck and killed Graham before fleeing the scene. The vehicle was described by witnesses as a silver/gray newer-model Ford Mustang with a black pinstripe down the side.
Highway Patrol Sgt. S.F. Cotton said earlier this week that plenty of tips had been received, but none panned out.
Some witnesses reported hearing the impact of the collision that night while others saw a vehicle parked in a field with its headlights on following the incident. Troopers went to the area where the vehicle was spotted, but found nothing. There were some shards of glass at the scene indicating a possible shattered windshield. However, a description of occupants was not able to be obtained.
The suspect vehicle was last seen traveling south on Ira B. Tart Road toward N.C. 55.
“We’re just at a standstill,” Cotton said Tuesday. “We’re hoping that if anyone has any information, they will come forward with it.”
Phillip is hoping the addition of a reward will bring about a break in the case. Just as he is now without a son, a little boy is now without his father.
“He just got a good job,” Phillip said of Brian. “There’s no jobs here in Rockingham. He went where he could get a job. He was living in a camper trying to save money so he could take care of his little boy Titus, who’s 5. That’s what it’s all about.”
Anyone with information on the case can call Phillip Graham, at 910-817-7125. They can also call the local Highway Patrol in Sampson at 910-592-3141, HP communications at 1-800-334-7411 or dial *HP. The Sampson County Sheriff’s Office can be reached at 910-592-4141.
Reach Managing Editor Chris Berendt at 910-249-4616. Follow the paper on twitter @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.