William Wilson Heaton (Photo: OnlineAthens.com)
ATLANTA -- The KSU student critically injured in an hit and run accident has been moved to the Shepherd Center. The 19-year old was transferred on Friday from Athens where the accident happened to Atlanta.
Emily Bowman's father, Dale, says his daughter remains in intensive care, but the move means instead of fighting for life, the focus now is on her recovery. A great relief to a family given little assurance Emily would even survive.
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"We were told there the first two or three days it was hour by hour. So this is just a breath of fresh air," said Bowman.
After the accident, doctor's had to cut out a large section of Emily Bowman's skull to alleviate swelling, she was on a ventilator, and unconscious.
"About a week and a half ago she blinked her eyes and we got excited and then she yawned and we got excited about that," said Bowman.
On Friday, she was breathing on her own, her eyes wide open as she made the move. Doctors have yet to say much about the extent of her brain injury.
"We're in an assessment phase and we're going to get to know her and look at her from a rehabilitation perspective, which is a little bit different," said Emily's physician, Dr. Gerald Bilsky.
It was only on Thursday doctors in Athens declared Emily had come out of her coma. The same day William Wilson Heaton, the man accused of hitting her, made his first court appearance on six charges related to the accident, including DUI.
Athens Clarke county police say they spent days after the accident reviewing surveillance video from nearly a dozen cameras downtown, including one inside a bar. They wanted to build a timeline of where Heaton was in the hours before and after the crash.
"Wilson, his father and I are all committed to the truth and have been from day one. And we've communicated again and again. And Wilson is fully prepared to take responsibility," said his mother, Tara Heaton.
On Friday, as Emily settled in to her new room at the Shepherd Center, Heaton remained at the Athens Clarke County jail.
An event at the Buffalo Café in Woodstock raised nearly $7,500 for Emily's medical expenses. A fund has also been set up at Wells Fargo Bank. Donations can be made to the "Emily Taylor Bowman's Medical Bill Fund."