Relative says Athens hit-and-run victim moving to rehab center on Friday

Police make arrest in Athens hit-and-run

The Kennesaw State University student critically injured when she was hit by an allegedly drunk hit-and-run driver last month is expected to be transferred to to the Shepherd Center on Friday, according to a family member.

Emily Bowman’s uncle, Neal Bowman, posted the news on the “Bows for Bowman” Facebook page late Thursday that his niece would be moving from an Athens hospital to the Buckhead rehabilitation center on Friday.

“We’re at Emily’s house gathering up the list of personal items Shepherd wants her to have,” Neal Bowman said in the Facebook posting.

Bond was set at $50,000 Thursday for the man accused of critically injuring the college student.

Arrest warrants were issued Wednesday for 22-year-old William Wilson Heaton in connection with the Feb. 16 incident. Heaton was booked into the Athens-Clarke County Jail just before 12:30 a.m. Thursday, according to online jail records.

Heaton, who is listed on jail records as being from the Bartow County town of Rydal, is facing six charges, including felony hit-and-run, DUI and serious injury by motor vehicle, for allegedly hitting Bowman.

At a bond hearing Thursday morning, Magistrate Judge Benjamin Makin set bond at $50,000, adding the condition that Heaton wear an ankle monitor while out of jail on bond. Heaton remained in jail early Friday.

Meanwhile, 19-year-old Bowman is no longer in a coma and continues to make significant progress in her recovery, her father told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“Today was the first day that we actually heard she was not in a coma anymore from her neurosurgeon,” Dale Bowman said Thursday night.

She is now breathing on her own, her father said.

“That’s all we want is baby steps,” Dale Bowman said. “We’ve got plenty of time to get her better. But it’s going to be such a long process. What a big interruption in her life.”

Bowman, of Woodstock, was in Athens celebrating a friend’s birthday when she was hit on Oak Street by a pickup truck, according to her family and police. Bowman was walking in the grass, off the roadway, when she was struck from behind, police said.

After Bowman was struck, police located the truck believed to be involved about a half-mile away at an apartment complex. The truck’s front passenger side was damaged, the back had empty beer cans, and the vehicle had been abandoned, according to police.

Bowman underwent emergency brain surgery following the wreck and has remained hospitalized at Athens Regional Medical Center. She moves her legs and arms, but isn’t completely responsive, her father said. Still, she’s come a long way and continues to improve, he said.

“She’s a fighter and has a will to live,” Dale Bowman said.

Emily Bowman's friends have rallied behind her, selling T-shirts and bracelets to assist the family with medical costs. A Facebook page was also created for updates about Bowman's progress. On Thursday, an all-day fundraiser was held at the Buffalo's Cafe on Ga. 92 in Woodstock.