Data shows teen was traveling 91 mph when he hit Brambletts’ SUV

New documents in Brambletts’ deaths

LEE COUNTY, Ala. (WSFA) - New court documents indicate the speed 16-year-old Johnston Edward Taylor was traveling when his SUV slammed into the back of Rod Bramblett’s Toyota, killing him and his wife, Paula, on May 25.

According to an affidavit, following the crash the Auburn Police Department obtained search warrants to extract the Electronic Data Recording Modules from both Taylor’s 2011 Jeep Cherokee Laredo and the Brambletts’ 2017 Toyota Highlander.

The modules act in a similar manner to an airplane’s black box, recording some data about a vehicle’s actions that can be extracted for review following a crash.

When the data was analyzed by the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, it was determined that Taylor’s Jeep was accelerating from 89 mph to 91 mph, with no signs of any braking, when he hit the back of the Highlander.

The posted speed limit in the area of Shug Jordan Parkway where the double-fatal crash happened is 55 mph.

Rod and Paula Bramblett were killed in a two-vehicle crash in Auburn on May 25.
Rod and Paula Bramblett were killed in a two-vehicle crash in Auburn on May 25. (Source: Auburn Athletics)

Additionally, prior to Taylor’s arrest Monday on two counts of manslaughter, Auburn police received results of its Toxicology Analysis Report on a blood sample taken while Taylor was being treated for non-life-threatening injuries at a hospital the evening of the crash.

The blood, sent to the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences for testing, found THC, the primary psychoactive component of marijuana “and is indicative of recent usage of Marijuana at the time of the collision on May 25th 2019.”

Rod Bramblett was the celebrated voice of Auburn Tigers athletics. His wife had worked for Auburn University in its Office of Information Technology. They left behind two children, Shelby and Joshua.

According to the initial traffic crash report by Auburn police, Taylor told police he fell asleep at the wheel and didn’t remember the events surrounding the crash, which happened around 6 p.m. that Saturday evening.

The police report stated the Jeep was traveling southbound in the outside lane of Shug Jordan, approaching Samford when it hit the back of the Brambletts’ SUV right of center. The Highlander appeared to have been stationary or near stationary in the southbound outside lane of Shug Jordan at the traffic light.

The impact of the crash caused the Jeep to hit a pedestrian crossing signal and a traffic light pole before coming to a stop. The Highlander was pushed into the intersection and through the opposing lanes of traffic before coming to a stop on the curb.

Paula Bramblett was pronounced dead at nearby East Alabama Medical Center. Rod Bramblett was initially taken to EAMC but transferred in critical condition via helicopter to UAB in Birmingham. He was pronounced dead shortly after arrival.

Taylor was arrested at his home Monday on two counts of manslaughter, then taken to the Lee County Jail. He was later released on a $50,000 bond.

Authorities have confirmed he will be tried as an adult but no court date has been set at this time.

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