More than three years ago, a pedestrian was killed as he walked along a roadway in northern Sampson County. He was a father who had recently moved to the area after getting a job, and he was living a simple life as he tried to save money to take care of his young son. In a moment, a family was without a son and a boy was without his father.
Local N.C. Highway Patrol authorities were able to get a description of the suspect vehicle and they dissemintation information through the media — and the family offered a reward — for information leading to the apprehension of the hit-and-run suspect.
Plenty of leads were received, but none panned out.
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. Jan. 20, 2018, approximately 5 miles east of Dunn.
Following the fatal wreck, Phillip Graham 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,” Phillip told The Sampson Independent back in early 2018. He said 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.
This week, Highway Patrol Sgt. D. Kevin Pearson renewed the plea. He said there was no new information in the case, but urged the dissemination of the previous details.
He said it is Patrol policy to follow up on hit-and-run fatal collisions for at least three years from the date of occurrence. After three years, the case is considered inactive and the Patrol “no longer attempts to follow up unless new information is discovered,” Pearson stated.
According to previous reports, 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,” a Highway Patrol sergeant said in week following the wreck. “We’re hoping that if anyone has any information, they will come forward with it.”
Phillip expressed his hope years ago that the addition of a reward would bring about a break in the case. Just as he is now without a son, a little boy was now without his father.
“That’s my boy,” Phillips told The Independent in early 2018. “I need to do this.”
“He just got a good job,” Phillip said of Brian at the time. “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. That’s what it’s all about.”
Anyone with information on the case can 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.