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Autopsy: Bowden grandson died of apparent drowning in crash


Published:   |   Updated: December 27, 2013 at 04:52 PM

The grandson of former FSU football coach Bobby Bowden, and another man, died of an apparent drowning in a Winter Haven crash early Thursday, autopsies show.

Preliminary results show Taylor Jeffrey “T.J.” Bowden, 23, of Winter Haven, and the driver, 25-year-old Rafael Fernandes De Aguiar Valim, 25, did not die from injuries related to the crash, the autopsy indicates.

Toxicology results are still pending, Polk County deputies say.

The sole survivor, Robert Lewis Edwards, 23, of Boca Raton, was released from Winter Haven Hospital following treatment for hypothermia and a minor abrasion on his head.

Bowden and Valim were killed after their car was found mostly submerged and upside down in a roadside creek, while Edwards was rescued, deputies said.

Bowden 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.

Deputies are investigating whether alcohol was a factor in the crash.

Investigators said the men were at Indigo’s, a bar, game and bowling establishment on U.S. 17 in Winter Haven on Wednesday night and were on their way to a friend’s house when the crash occurred.

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.

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

This is the second time a grandson of Bobby Bowden has died in an car crash. In 2004, 15-year-old Bowden Madden was killed when the car he was in with his father was hit on Interstate 10 by a utility truck during Hurricane Frances. The teen’s father, John Madden, was also killed.

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