“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.