Bowden's grandson killed in auto accident
A grandson of former Florida State coach Bobby Bowden was killed in a one-car accident Thursday morning in Winter Haven, Fla.
According to the Polk County Sheriff's office, passenger Taylor Jeffrey Bowden, 23, died when a vehicle driven by Rafael Fernandes De Aguiar Valim, 25, crashed into a water-filled ditch.
He is the second grandson of Bowden's to die in an auto accident since 15-year-old Bowden Madden was killed in September 2004.
"Ann and I received the sad news early this afternoon that our grandson, Taylor 'T.J.' Bowden, the youngest son of our son Jeffery, was killed this morning when the vehicle he was riding in with two friends overturned in a pond," Bobby Bowden said in a statement Thursday night. "The driver was also killed, but miraculously, after several hours in the water, the passenger in the backseat survived and was rescued. Our whole family had just celebrated Christmas together in Panama City, as well as celebrated T.J.'s graduation from Florida State just three weeks ago. We will cherish those last memories together with T.J. forever."
The victim's father was Jeff Bowden, an assistant coach at Akron under brother Terry Bowden. He is the son of Bobby Bowden.
"My entire family and I are mourning the loss of our son, Taylor 'T.J.' Bowden, who was killed in a tragic car accident early this morning," Jeff Bowden said in a statement. "I can't express the grief I feel right now. Please keep us in your prayers."
A trash collector reported the accident about 8 a.m. Thursday after seeing the back of the car in the ditch. The front of the car was submerged in water. A third man in the car, Robert Lewis Edwards, was rescued about three hours after paramedics arrived. He was found unconscious but breathing.