Bobby Bowden's grandson killed in crash

By Troy Blevins, Online Editor, Producer
Published On: Dec 26 2013 08:02:08 PM EST
Updated On: Dec 27 2013 07:45:55 AM EST

The grandson of former Florida State University football coach Bobby Bowden has died in a car crash, authorities say.

WINTER HAVEN, Fla. -

The grandson of former Florida State University football coach Bobby Bowden has died in a car crash in Central Florida.

Taylor Bowden was the passenger in a car that flipped and landed upside down in a body of water Thursday morning in Polk County.

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

The 25-year-old driver of the car, Rafael Fernandes De Aguiar Valim, was also killed but a second passenger, identified as 22-year-old Robert Lewis Edwards, survived.

Edwards was rescued by crews who heard him crying for help. He spent hours in water up to his neck and was being treated for hypothermia.

Bobby Bowden released the following statement:

"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. 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."

"We are thankful to everyone who has already sent their love, support and prayers during this time of great loss and sadness for our family," said Terry Bowden and family members in a statement. "Taylor, 'T.J.,' will forever be in our hearts."

The details of the crash are being investigated, but the sheriff's office reports that alcohol appears to be a factor.

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