Officials say the 19-year-old former Kennesaw State Student who was the victim of a hit-and-run in Athens last month has been moved to the Shepherd Center to begin her rehabilitation.
Police say William Heaton, 22, hit Emily Bowman with his truck in the early morning hours of February 16 while she was walking with a friend. Investigators say Heaton fled the scene and they found his truck abandoned nearby with empty alcohol containers inside.
Bowman has been at the Athens Regional Hospital since the incident. Shepherd Center officials say she was transferred to the center on Friday to begin her rehabilitation and care for a brain injury they say she suffered in the hit-and-run.
Emily's father, Dale Bowman, said the move to Shepherd Center marks a huge first step on the long road to recovery.
"I told her this morning first thing, I said, ‘Emily, we're getting ready to take a road trip.' And I said, ‘you know, these people have taken good care of you and we're going to miss them, but we're getting ready to take a road trip,'" Dale Bowman said.
While there are many more steps ahead, Dale Bowman is just grateful his daughter was able to move from the survival stage to the recovery stage of what was a life-threatening ordeal.
"We were told the first…two or three days that it was hour to hour, and so, you know, this is just a breath of fresh air," Dale Bowman said.
On Friday, Dale Bowman declined to discuss Heaton's arrest, focusing instead on his daughter's future and what she's already accomplished.
"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," Dale Bowman said.
Heaton was granted $50,000 bond by an Athens-Clarke County judge on Thursday. He remained jailed on Friday.