Deputies in Polk County are investigating what led to a fatal accident that resulted in the deaths of two people – and the amazing rescue of one other.
Early this morning, a vehicle plunged into a pond off of Country Club Road South in the Winter Haven area.
It happened between Dundee Road and Lake Hamilton Road. Deputies say a Florida Refuse Truck spotted a broken fence and the car through a wooded area.
Dive teams arrived on scene to investigate, and they feared all three inside were dead. However, nearly four hours later, divers say they heard a man calling out for help.
Robert Lewis Edwards, 22, was pulled from the car and taken to a hospital. His friends, Rafael Fernandes de Auguiar-Valini and Taylor Jeffrey Bowden, were killed. Bowden is the grandson of former Florida State coach Bobby Bowden.
"All we know is that this turned out to be a terrible tragedy for two people, and a Christmas miracle for one," Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said.
Photos taken from the scene show the car was upside down and mostly submerged in the water. Deputies are interviewing the survivor to see what led to the crash, which appears to have been a single-vehicle incident.
Deputies say Auguiar-Valini was driving, and alcohol may have been a factor in the crash.
Edwards is staying at Winter Haven Hospital. He appears to have been in the back seat.