Pandemic delays teen’s manslaughter trial for Bramblett deaths

Pandemic delays teen’s manslaughter trial for Bramblett deaths
Johnston Edward Taylor's trial will be delayed because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. (Source: Lee County Sheriff's Office)

LEE COUNTY, Ala. (WSFA) - The trial is being delayed for a Lee County teen who was involved in a crash that killed longtime Auburn broadcaster Rod Bramblett and his wife, Paula.

On Thursday, Judge Jacob Walker III ordered the trial of Johnston Taylor be postponed citing an order from the Alabama Supreme Court regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

Taylor’s trial was scheduled to begin on May 4 at the Lee County Justice Center but will now be set for Aug. 31.

The crash happened around 6 p.m. on May 25 at the intersection of Shug Jordan Parkway and West Sanford Avenue in Auburn.

According to an affidavit, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency analyzed data and determined Taylor’s Jeep was accelerating from 89 mph to 91 mph, with no signs of any braking, when he hit the back of the Brambletts’ Toyota Highlander. The area has a posted speed limit is 55 mph.

The 16-year-old was subsequently arrested in July, had his bond revoked in December, and was indicted in January on two counts of reckless manslaughter.

Despite having his trial date pushed back, it could change again. In the judge’s order, he stated "this case could be reset sooner if the Courts are opened sooner for jury trials.”

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