Hit-and-run victim out of coma, suspect turns self in to police
by Associated Press Wire and Megan Thornton
March 08, 2013 12:10 AM | 3503 views | 4 4 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Server Ashely Saputo, wearing a ‘Pray for Emily’ T-shirt, takes the orders from Woodstock firefighters. Buffalo's Southwest Cafe in Woodstock hosted a fundraiser Thursday for Emily Bowman, a 19-year-old who was critically injured in a hit-and-run accident three weeks ago. Ten percent of the funds from sales were donated to the Bowman family. T-shirts and hair bows were on sale to help raise money.
Server Ashely Saputo, wearing a ‘Pray for Emily’ T-shirt, takes the orders from Woodstock firefighters. Buffalo's Southwest Cafe in Woodstock hosted a fundraiser Thursday for Emily Bowman, a 19-year-old who was critically injured in a hit-and-run accident three weeks ago. Ten percent of the funds from sales were donated to the Bowman family. T-shirts and hair bows were on sale to help raise money.
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A flier promotes the ‘Bows for Bowman’ fundraising event.
A flier promotes the ‘Bows for Bowman’ fundraising event.
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After recovering for almost three weeks at Athens Regional Medical Center, Emily Bowman is finally out of a coma and likely headed to Shepherd Center today, her father Dale Bowman said Thursday.

“We’re anxious for the next step in Emily’s life to go on,” he said. “She’s got a long road ahead of her.”

The latest step in the Woodstock teen’s road to recovery came a day after the man suspected in the hit-and-run that left Bowman in a coma turned himself in to police.

The suspect, William Wilson Heaton, 22, of Rydal faces several charges after he surrendered early Wednesday evening to authorities at the Clarke County Sheriff’s Office and was booked into the Clarke County Jail.

The charges include hit and run, driving under the influence, serious injury by vehicle, failure to maintain lane, reckless driving and open container, according to Athens-Clarke County Police.

A judge set Heaton’s bond at $50,000 during a Thursday morning hearing in Clarke County Superior Court, which Dale Bowman said he attended.

Emily Bowman, a former Kennesaw State University student, was walking on the grassy shoulder of an Athens road on Feb. 16 about 3 a.m. when a pickup truck left the road and hit her, police said. The driver then fled and left the truck.

Officers spent dozens of hours reviewing video from about 10 surveillance cameras during their investigation, police said.

Heaton’s attorney, Anthony Perotta, declined to say whether Heaton was driving the pickup when it struck Bowman.

On Thursday, many of the Woodstock teen’s friends flocked to Buffalo’s Southwest Café on Highway 92 to support the 19-year-old at a fundraiser held at the local restaurant.

Restaurant patrons bid on raffle prizes and purchased orange and blue shirts, bracelets and bows that read “Bows for Bowman” in support of the cause until 8 p.m.

“The place has been packed pretty much all day,” a server said.

Additionally, 10 percent of food sales went toward Bowman’s medical funds.

Dale Bowman said he heard word around lunchtime Thursday the restaurant was packed.

“I’ve gotten several phone calls from people going by,” he said. “That’s awesome. All of Emily’s friend that have gotten the T-shirts and bracelets together — what a super bunch of good kids they are.”

He also thanked the Athens police and hospital staff for taking good care of his daughter.

“It was a tragic thing that happened, but we ended up in good hands over here in Athens,” he said.

The fundraiser was promoted on the “Bows for Bowman” Facebook page, where family members and friends continue to update readers about Bowman’s status and post pictures almost daily.

Bowman’s mother posted Thursday that she and her father were preparing her daughter to move to the Shepherd Center in Atlanta.

“God is taking good care of my sweet angel and I just know that one day she will return back to a normal life again. Keep up the prayers as they obviously are working. I look forward each day to see what new little things she may do so keep those prayers coming,” her mother wrote.



The Associated Press also contributed to this article.
Comments
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kmathis911
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March 08, 2013
Actually what Ive been told is his truck never left the road. They cant prove it did. And he was not under the influence at the time. Those open containers were old. She actually stumbled into the road. SHE was the one intoxicated. On the side of the road at 3am coming back from a party. Story hss been changed to make her sound completely innocent.

He did hit her. And he did run. He freaked out. Scared crapless! And that was VERY wrong of him.But this whole incident would not have happened if she was not allowed to wonder the stteets at 3am! That does not make up for this tragedy- BOTH wrre at fault here. Her for her actions. His for his.
jsut wondering
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March 08, 2013
It is very sad that this young lady was injured, but why was she walking alone on a road at 3am

maybe the driver of the truck was not the only one drinking that night ? DUI related accidents arent always just the fault of the drivers. yes he did wrong in not stopping but it sounds like the media/ her family are her out as this perfect ,sweet angel of a person when walking alone at 3am seems to contradict that

LeeTB
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March 08, 2013
First of all, I believe she was walking with a friend when she was hit. Regardless, she is her parents' perfect, sweet angel and a victim of a drunk driver who left her to die. Why is that so difficult for you to understand?
anonymous
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March 08, 2013
The Shepard Center is the very best. Much luck to this beautiful young lady as she recovers.
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