Mr. Taylor Jeffrey Bowden

  • "Our prayers are with the Bowden family."
    - Michael Beeco
  • "To the entire Bowden family, may you find peace and comfort..."
    - George Peck III
  • "Our thoughts& prayers are with the Bowden family in your..."
    - Ray& Bonnie Beach
  • "I cannot imagine how saddened the Bowden family is at the..."
    - Sally Hawthorne
  • "Luann My heart breaks for you! May you find comfort from..."
    - Brenda Cordell

A grandson of former Florida State football coach Bobby Bowden died in a Winter Haven crash early Thursday in which the car was found mostly submerged and upside down in a roadside creek, deputies said.

Another man in the car died, but a survivor was pulled from the car by Polk County sheriff's divers. Authorities said the man had been in the car for several hours.

The body of Taylor Jeffrey "T.J." Bowden, 23, of Winter Haven, was found in the car when rescuers arrived. Investigators said the Mitsubishi crashed at about 2 a.m. on Country Club Road, between Dundee and Lake Hamilton roads.

Bowden was a passenger; the car was driven by Winter Haven resident Rafael Fernandes De Aguiar Valim, 25, who also was killed.

Bowden is the son of Jeff Bowden, a former FSU assistant and now an assistant on his brother Terry's staff at the University of Akron.

"I can't express the grief I feel right now," Jeff Bowden said in a statement. "Please keep us in your prayers."

Jeff and Terry Bowden are sons of Bobby Bowden, the legendary Seminoles coach who retired in 2009.

"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, 84, said in a statement released by the University of Akron. "We will cherish those last memories together with T.J. forever."

The sole survivor, Robert Lewis Edwards, 23, of Boca Raton, was saved by divers more than three hours after rescue efforts began and about nine hours after investigators think the car crashed into the creek. Edwards was in the back seat with water up to his neck and may have been unconscious until divers heard noises from the car, deputies said.
Published in on Dec. 27, 2013
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