Joyce & Reyes Law Firm

Auto Accident Attorney with Joyce & Reyes Remarks on Deaths of Two Men in Polk County, Including Grandson of Bobby Bowden


Tampa, FL -- (SBWIRE) -- 02/27/2014 -- The grandson of a well-known Florida football coach and another young man were killed in a recent auto accident in Polk County.

Taylor Jeffrey Bowden, 23, grandson of Bobby Bowden, 84, former football coach at Florida State University, died in the early morning hours of the day after Christmas. At about 2 a.m., the car carrying Bowden and two friends plunged into a pond. The trio had been drinking at a bar in Winter Haven. Police said alcohol was a factor in the crash.

“This is a terrible tragedy for these families,” said Tampa auto accident attorney Robert Joyce. “The pain of losing a child so young, and right after Christmas, is hard to imagine.”

The driver of the car, Rafael Fernandes De Aguiar Valim, 25, was declared dead at the scene, along with Bowden. The third man, Robert Lewis Edwards, 22, survived despite being unconscious for hours in the submerged car.

No one noticed the black Mitsubishi Lancer for about five hours after the crash, when trash collectors saw it and called the police. Drivers from the Polk County Sheriff's Office arrived at about 8 a.m. They peered into the car, but the murky water obscured their view. They pounded on the windows and yelled, but no one answered. They believed that only one person was in the car, already dead.

Finally, just before noon — some four hours after they arrived, and ten hours after the crash — deputies heard someone yelling from inside the car. Edwards was in the rear seat, suffering from hypothermia and trapped in water up to his chin. After he regained full consciousness and was pulled from the car, he told police that a third man — Bowden — was in the front passenger seat.

“The deaths of these two young men should serve as a reminder to everyone to always designate a driver and never drive after drinking,” attorney Joyce added.

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