Teen accused of killing Rod and Paula Bramblett gets youthful offender status

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Rod and Paula Bramblett (Image: auburntigers.com)

LEE COUNTY, Ala. — The teenager charged with reckless manslaughter in the death of former Auburn announcer Rod Bramblett and his wife Paula will get youthful offender status, a judge ruled Tuesday.

Johnston Edward Taylor, 18, was granted youthful offender status Tuesday afternoon in a decision filed in Lee County Circuit Court.

Taylor was 16 when he crashed his vehicle into the Brambletts at the intersection of Shug Jordan Parkway and W. Samford Avenue on May 25, 2019. Alabama Law Enforcement Agency troopers said Taylor was going 91 miles per hour when he crashed into the Brambletts.

Taylor told law enforcement he had been at the lake that day with a friend and her family and was tired, according to court documents. He said he apparently fell asleep while driving and only remembers a loud crash and his vehicle spinning.

Taylor had marijuana in his system but it couldn’t be determined whether he had used any the day of the crash, according to the judge’s order. He was diagnosed with marijuana use disorder, according to the order.

Taylor’s bond was revoked in November 2019 when he was pulled over and charged with speeding and reckless driving. The bond was reinstated on the conditions that he wear an ankle monitor, stay confined at home and seek drug rehabilitation treatment.

Since completing rehab, Taylor passed all drug screens except in March of this year, when he tested positive for alcohol. He claimed it was due to taking allergy medicine that contained alcohol, according to court documents.

The judge cited Taylor’s lack of a criminal history prior to the wreck and his marijuana use as reasons to classify him as a youthful offender.

He’s due to be arraigned April 28.

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