News Release: WTSP-Tampa
Updated: December 26, 2013, 9:50pm
Statements from the Bowden family regarding the passing of Taylor "T.J." Bowden on Thursday, Dec. 26 following an automobile accident in Winter Haven, Fla.:
"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. I can't express the grief I feel right now. Please keep us in your prayers."
"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."
Terry Bowden and Family:
"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. Taylor, "T.J.", will forever be in our hearts."
News Release: Associated Press News
Updated: December 26, 2013, 8:25pm
WINTER HAVEN, Fla. (AP) -- Authorities say 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.
The Polk County Sheriff's Office says in a news release that 23-year-old Taylor Jeffrey Bowden and 25-year-old Rafael Fernandes De Aguiar Valim, who had been driving, both died in the Thursday crash in Winter Haven. Sheriff's office public information officer Carrie Eleazer confirmed Bowden's relation to the famous football coach.
A third man -- 22-year-old Robert Lewis Edwards -- was rescued by crews who heard him cry for help. He spent hours in water up to his neck and was being treated for hypothermia.
The details of the crash are being investigated, but the sheriff's office reports that alcohol appears to be a factor.
News Release: WTSP-Tampa
Winter Haven, Florida -- Polk County deputies are currently investigating what appears to be a single car crash off Country Club Road South.
A little before 8 a.m. on December 26, a Florida Refuse Truck spotted an upside down car submerged in the water in what was described as a creek or a ditch. It appears the car broke through a wood fence where a car entered an embankment into the water that was about 5 ft deep.
Winter Haven Police, Pasco County Sheriff Office Deputies, and the Pasco County Sheriff Office dive team arrived on scene to look for survivors. The front end of the car was completely submerged and a portion of the back end of the car was sticking up out of the water.
Around 11:45 a.m. members of the dive team heard noises coming from within the car. It was the back seat passenger, Robert Edwards, who said he was cold and needed help. Previous to this communication he had made no noises while deputies were searching for survivors.
The dive team rescued the Edwards who was submerged in the water up to his neck. He is being treated for hypothermia and other injuries. Deputies are interviewing Edwards for more information on the crash but he is not completely lucid.
The dive team located two deceased male victims in the front of the car. The driver was Rafael Fernandes de Auguiar-Valini and passenger Taylor Bowden. Alcohol appears to be a factor in the crash.