Report: Teen driver said he fell asleep before fatal Bramblett crash

Report: Teen driver said he fell asleep before fatal Bramblett crash
Rod and Paula Bramblett were killed in a weekend crash. They are survived by their two children, Shelby and Joshua (Source: Bramblett Memorial/GoFundMe)

AUBURN, Ala. (WSFA) - The teenage driver involved in the crash that killed Auburn University’s Rod and Paula Bramblett told police he fell asleep at the wheel, according to a traffic crash report.

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

The police report states the 2011 Jeep Laredo, operated by a 16-year-old driver, was traveling southbound in the outside lane of Shug Jordan approaching Samford when it hit the back of the Bramblett’s 2017 Toyota Highlander, 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.

According to the report, the driver of the Jeep, identified as a student of Lee-Scott Academy, said he fell asleep while driving and didn’t remember what happened. 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.

The report states this information is based on current and available data and does not include data from vehicles and toxicology reports. In a statement released May 28, the Auburn Police Division said a preliminary investigation had not found alcohol or distracted phone usage played a role in the crash. Investigators confirmed the Brambletts were wearing seat belts at the time of the crash.

After the crash, the Brambletts were taken to East Alabama Medical Center, where Paula Bramblett died in the emergency room. Rod Bramblett was taken to UAB Hospital in Birmingham where he died. The teen suffered injuries that were not considered life threatening.

After the investigation is completed, the case will be turned over to the Lee County district attorney’s office for review. The Auburn Police Division, the Lee County District Attorney’s Office, the Lee County Coroner’s Office and the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences are involved in the investigation.

Rod Bramblett had broadcasted Auburn baseball since 1993 and took over as lead announcer for Auburn in 2003, serving as Auburn’s voice of football, men’s basketball and baseball. He was named National Broadcaster of the Year by Sports Illustrated in 2013 and was also a three-time winner of the Alabama State Broadcaster of the Year, presented by the National Sports Media Association, in 2006, 2010, and 2013.

Paula Bramblett was an employee of the university, working in the Information Technology Department.

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