Auburn

Auburn’s Rod Bramblett died of head injury after teenager fell asleep while driving

The Auburn family still is mourning the death of long-time athletics play-by-play voice Rod Bramblett and his wife Paula, who were tragically killed during an automobile accident on May 25.

On Thursday, AL.com’s Carol Robinson provided some new details on the circumstances surrounding the accident that rocked the Tigers community last month.

A public records request landed Robinson a copy of the police report from the accident, which indicates a 16-year-old who told police that he fell asleep behind the wheel of his Jeep was responsible for the crash that killed Rod (53) and Paula (52).

Robinson reports that the police report indicates that cell phone usage and alcohol were not believed to be a factor in the accident.

Here’s a snippet of what Robinson took away from the report to give a better understanding of what happened at the scene of the accident:

“It was just after 6 p.m. that Saturday evening. The 16-year-old driver – a Lee Scott Academy student – was traveling southbound in the outside lane on Shug Jordan Parkway approaching West Samford Avenue in his Jeep Laredo.

The Brambletts, in a 2017 Toyota Highlander, were stopped in the southbound outside lane of Shug Jordan parkway at a traffic light. The Jeep struck the Bramblett’s SUV to the right of center, according to the crash report. The impact caused the Jeep to hit a pedestrian crossing signal and a traffic light police before coming to a final rest.

The Bramblett’s vehicle was pushed into the intersection and through the opposing lanes of traffic before coming to a final rest on the curb.”

Rod (closed head injury) and Paula (internal injuries) both were airlifted to UAB Hospital in Birmingham, but were unable to be saved. The teenage driver was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Truly heart-wrenching stuff.

Bramblett, who was the 2013 national broadcaster of the year, and Paula both committed much of their lives to Auburn. A visitation and funeral were held for the couple, which is survived by children Shelby and Josh, on May 30.

If you would like to help their children, please consider making a donation to the Rod and Paula Bramblett Memorial Fund. It has raised more than $300,000 in the 11 days since it was created.

Auburn football coach Gus Malzahn and basketball coach Bruce Pearl issued the following statements after the death of the Brambletts, via AuburnTigers.com:

GUS MALZAHN, AUBURN FOOTBALL HEAD COACH

“I’m heartbroken by the loss of Rod Bramblett and his wife Paula. Rod was a true professional and was always a pleasure to work with. He loved Auburn and it showed in his work. As much as he loved Auburn, his family came first and foremost. This is a difficult time and we will continue to pray and offer our support to the Bramblett family, especially their children Shelby and Joshua.”

BRUCE PEARL, AUBURN MEN’S BASKETBALL HEAD COACH

“It won’t be the same without Rod. Ninety minutes before the game and 20 minutes after it, we spent time talking Auburn basketball. He loved Auburn, the student-athletes and the coaches and it showed every time he called a game. As good as he was at what he did, he was a better man. He was kind, considerate and selfless among so many other great qualities. Selfishly, I’ll miss my friend and his wife Paula. I just pray for their family.”

Cover photo via AuburnTigers.com.

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