Bobby Bowden’s grandson killed in crash

Former Florida State football coach Bobby Bowden’s grandson was

one of two men killed when their car flipped into a small ditch off

a central Florida road, officials said Thursday.

Taylor Jeffrey Bowden, 23, and driver Rafael Fernandes De Aguiar

Valim, 25, died in the crash, according to a news release from the

Polk County Sheriff’s Office. A third man in the crash –

22-year-old Robert Lewis Edwards – was rescued after spending hours

in water up to his neck.

”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,” Bobby Bowden said in a statement

released by the University of Akron, where son Terry is the

football coach. ”We will cherish those last memories together with

T.J. forever.”

T.J. Bowden was the son of Jeff Bowden, a former Florida State

assistant coach under his father who is now on brother Terry’s

staff at Akron.

”I can’t express the grief I feel right now,” Jeff Bowden said

in a statement. ”Please keep us in your prayers.”

A trash collector reported the submerged car at 7:47 a.m. The

Mitsubishi wasn’t very visible from the road, but the Florida

Refuse truck was high enough to allow the worker to see it.

At first, Winter Haven police, sheriff’s deputies, paramedics

and the sheriff’s office dive team who responded couldn’t find

survivors. The front end of the care was completely submerged,

while part of the back end was sticking up out of the water.

More than three hours later, dive team members in the water

heard noises coming from in the car. They were able to communicate

with Edwards, who said he was cold and needed help. After several

minutes, Edwards was out of the water and he was being treated for

hypothermia and other injuries at a hospital.

The dive team then located the bodies of Bowden and De Aguiar

Valim.

The details of the crash were being investigated, but alcohol

appears to be a factor, the sheriff’s office reported.

Deputies have attempted to talk to Edwards about what happened

but said he wasn’t lucid. It appears that the car was heading north

on Country Club Road when it cross the southbound lane, crashed

through a fence, went down an embankment and came to a rest upside

down in the water.

Bobby Bowden led the Seminoles from 1976 to 2009. The

84-year-old holds the NCAA Division I record for career wins and

bowl victories and won two national championships.

In September 2004, Bobby Bowden’s grandson, 15-year-old Bowden

Madden, and former son-in-law, John Allen Madden, were killed when

their car was hit a by a utility truck that was helping to restore

power outages caused by Hurricane Frances.