Harrowing details are emerging Thursday afternoon in a single-car crash that killed the grandson of former Florida State football coach Bobby Bowden.
A second man died and a third had to wait several hours to be rescued from a car mostly submerged in a water-filled ditch along a highway in central Florida, according to a Polk County Sheriff's Office report.
Taylor Jeffrey Bowden, 23, and Rafael Fernandes De Aguiar Valim, 25, who was driving the vehicle, were both killed in the accident. A second passenger, Robert Lewis Edwards, 22, was eventually rescued from neck-deep water.
Bobby Bowden released a statement through the University of Akron, where Taylor Bowden's father, Jeff, is an assistant.
“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. “We will cherish those last memories together with T.J. forever.”
According to initial reports, it appears the vehicle was traveling north on the highway near Winter Haven when it crossed the oncoming lane, crashed through a fence, went down an embankment and landed upside down in the ditch. The car was spotted at about 7:45 a.m. by the driver of a refuse truck traveling along the highway.
The sheriff's office reported few details of its investigation, but did say it appears alcohol might have been a contributing factor.
Bowden had another grandson and a former son-in-law die in an auto accident in 2004. Bowden Madden and John Allen Madden were killed when their car collided with a utility truck that was helping to restore power outages during Hurricane Frances.