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Grandson of Bobby Bowden killed in car crash

By Jerry Hinnen | College Football Writer

A grandson of Florida State coaching legend Bobby Bowden was killed in a one-car accident Thursday morning in Winter Haven, Fla.

Per the Associated Press, a release from the Polk County Sheriff's office said passenger Taylor Jeffrey Bowden, 23, died when a vehicle driven by Rafael Fernandes De Aguiar Valim, 25, flipped into a water-filled ditch.

A spokeswoman confirmed to the AP that Bowden was Bobby Bowden's grandson. He is the second grandson of Bowden's to die in a car accident after 15-year-old Bowden Madden was killed in a crash 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," said Bobby Bowden 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, Bobby's son and an assistant at Akron under his brother, head coach Terry 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," said Jeff Bowden. "I can't express the grief I feel right now. Please keep us in your prayers."

The accident was reported just before 8 a.m. by a trash collector, who spotted the rear of the car sticking out of the water. The front of the car was entirely sumbmerged. A third man in the vehicle, Robert Lewis Edwards, was rescued some three hours after paramedics first arrived, apparently unconscious but breathing in an air pocket.

 
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