Emily Bowman: Almost one year later - FOX 32 News Chicago

Emily Bowman: Almost one year later

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ATLANTA, Ga. -

On February 16, it will be one year since a Woodstock girl was nearly killed in a hit and run accident in Athens. Her name was Emily Bowman and she was 19, at the time.

Bowman suffered a severe traumatic brain injury, was in a coma for weeks, and spent nearly five months at various hospitals. Doctors weren't sure if she would ever make a full recovery. But Emily is back at home, her parents caring for her around the clock and each day and she's taking baby steps, in the right direction.

She still can't walk and she can't talk, but she can identify letters on an iPad and do simple math problems with her fingers. Her mom, Debbie, asks Emily "What's 4 take away 2?" and watches as Emily slowly holds up two fingers.

Emily still requires a feeding tube, but she can now chew and swallow small amounts of food. And Debbie, who has moved into her ex-husband's home to care for Emily full time, says she has talks with her daughter about the accident.

"I have told her, on more than one occasion. It's not something I talk about every day, but I do have those talks with her and tell her what's happened and I know she probably doesn't remember," said Debbie.

Emily, a former Kennesaw State University student, was visiting friends up in Athens on that fateful day in February. She was walking along Oak Street when she was hit by a suspected drunk driver, 23-year-old William Heaton.

She spent weeks in a coma and 4 additional months at area hospitals. This summer, she returned to her Woodstock home which had been transformed into a makeshift hospital with the help of local charities.

Debbie, works with Emily around the clock while dad, Dale is at work. She has a slew of nurses, speech and physical therapists, and friends stopping by daily to help.

Doctors haven't set a limit on how far Emily can go. But Debbie says she has faith, her daughter will continue to make progress. "I'm ready to see her take that first step, I'm ready to hear her say that first word," she said.

Meanwhile, Debbie wants Emily to go back to the Shepherd Center where they have much better equipment, but she says she has to work out snags with their insurance first.

The Bowmans continue to stay focused on Emily's recovering, even while Heaton, the suspect in this case, remains out on bond.

Heaton turned himself in nearly three weeks after the accident. He faces multiple charges, including dui and leaving the scene of an accident. He has plead not guilty and no trial date has been set, at this time.

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