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2 members of Bobby Bowden’s family killed in car crash

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (BP)–A prominent Southern Baptist family was among those who suffered tragedy at the hands of Hurricane Frances.

The grandson and former son-in-law of Florida State University football coach Bobby Bowden –- a member of First Baptist Church in Tallahassee — died in a hurricane-related accident the evening of Sept. 5.

Bowden Madden, 15, and his father, John Madden, 45, were killed in a collision on Interstate 10 in Gadsden County. The Tallahassee Democrat newspaper said they were returning to the Fort Walton Beach area from a family gathering in Tallahassee.

The Florida Highway Patrol said Madden’s car struck a van when he attempted to pass it in the westbound lane of rain-slick I-10, sending the two vehicles across the median.

Police said Madden’s vehicle was struck by a Texas utility truck traveling in Florida to help with restoring power after the hurricane.

The newspaper reported that the driver of the truck was not injured; the couple in the van received minor injuries but were not hospitalized.

One of the most winning coaches in college football history, Bobby Bowden has gained a reputation in spiritual circles over the years. Often giving his testimony at churches across the South, he has also been a frequent speaker for meetings sponsored by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

A former member of the football team, John was married for 22 years to the Bowdens’ daughter, Ginger, and worked in the hotel industry. Bowden was a sophomore offensive lineman for the Choctawhatchee High School football team.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to Ginger, Bobby and Ann, and the entire Bowden family,” FSU Athletic Director Dave Hart said in a statement Sept. 7. “Most of us have been around all of the Bowden family a great deal and it is a loss shared by all of us.

“Words can’t express the grieving I know the Bowdens are going through. Bobby has been a pillar of strength and faith to his players and he’ll draw on that same strength through this tragedy.”

Funeral arrangements were still pending at noon EDT Sept. 7, although they were expected to be finalized later in the day, according to a spokesperson at the McLaughlin Mortuary in Fort Walton Beach, Fla.

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  • Ken Walker