Teenager sentenced in death of longtime Auburn announcer Rod Bramblett

Ryan Young
·Writer
·2 min read
An Auburn helmet
An 18-year-old was sentenced on Wednesday after he crashed into Auburn announcer Rod Bramblett and his wife in a 2019 car accident. (AP/Mark Humphrey)

A teenager was sentenced on Wednesday in the death of longtime Auburn radio announcer Rod Bramblett and his wife, Paula, according to the Opelika-Auburn News.

Johnston Taylor, 18, was indicted on two counts of manslaughter-reckless by a grand jury last year for the 2019 crash.

Taylor was granted youthful offender status earlier this month, which in Alabama is classified as a person under the age of 21. As a result, details of his sentencing were not shared. Taylor had the range of his punishment reduced to a maximum of three years, per the report, and waived his right to a jury trial for a trial by court.

“The sentence imposed was somewhere between a slap on the wrist and exacting a pound of flesh,” one of Taylor’s attorney’s told the Opelika-Auburn News. “It was between those two extremes.”

Beloved Auburn announcer killed in crash

Police said that Taylor was driving about 90 miles per hour at the time of the crash that killed Bramblett and his wife on May 25, 2019, and that he did not break when he rear-ended the couple, per the report. The speed limit in the area is 55 mph.

Rod died of a head injury after he was airlifted from the scene. He was 53. Paula was pronounced dead in an emergency room due to internal injuries. She was 52.

Taylor — who was 16 at the time of the crash — later tested positive for marijuana. He told police that he fell asleep while driving and didn’t remember what happened.

He was initially granted bond, though that was revoked in December 2019 after traffic citations. He was later transferred to a rehab facility briefly, per the report, and his bond was later re-instated.

Bramblett, an Auburn graduate, started out as the voice of the school’s baseball team in 1993 and had been the lead football and basketball radio voice since 2003. He is perhaps best known for his call in the “Kick Six” game when Auburn upset Alabama in the 2013 Iron Bowl.

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