Emily Bowman lies in a hospital bed in Athens Regional, recovering from severe injuries she sustained in a hit-and-run accident on Feb. 16. The man suspected of hitting her, and then leaving the scene of the accident, is William Wilson Heaton, 22, of Cartersville, according to a story in the Athens Banner Herald.
He has yet to be charged but does have an attorney who has been in touch with Athens Clarke County Police, the story says. The police have been trying to piece together the events of the night for Heaton, through interviews and camera footage, to establish where he was, and when, the newspaper reports.
Complicating the case is that, according to Lt. Don Eckert of the ACC Police Traffic Unit, someone tampered with evidence, the newspaper story says. He wouldn't say what the evidence was or who had tampered with it or how they had done so, the article notes.
Attorney Tony Perrotta tells Cartersville Patch that Wilson Heaton, who apparently grew up in Oconee County, has extended family in Bartow County, where he works in the farming industry.
Perrotta said Heaton would turn himself in if charged in connection with the alleged hit-and-run in Athens.
"We've offered to surrender since the Saturday it happened," Perrotta said, adding he "can't say" whether Heaton was driving the red pick-up truck that struck Emily Bowman and left the scene. "We're not running, we're right here in Cartersville."
Perrotta added the Heaton family is praying for the victim.
"The family holds daily prayer vigils for Emily and is praying for her recovery," he said.
Wilson Heaton's father, Billy Heaton, is an elementary school principal in Oconee County. His mother, Tara Heaton, lives in Watkinsville.
On Sunday, on the Facebook page the Bowman family is using to keep people informed about Emily, her uncle, wrote that Emily is still non-responsive but her eyes do open.
The 19-year-old Kennesaw University student has been taken completely off a ventilator and is now breathing through a tube placed in her trachea "that provides moist, oxygenated air," Neal Bowman wrote.
On Monday a representative of the Shepherd Center in Atlanta evaluated Emily for possible admission to the facility. Neal Bowman provided the following update:
"I can't say much but it went nothing like we expected. I was hoping to be able to post when Em's going to Atlanta. The process isn't that simple but we hope it moves forward. Towards the end she asked a question that had us stunned. She wants her parents to get back to her on their plans for Emily's care after she leaves Shepherd. Where? Who? How? We never allowed ourselves to ask that. She said worst case is Emily not progressing to a level they can rehab. I pointed to her room and said we can't do what those nurses do. She shot back, "Oh yes you can. We can teach you all of it." Still reeling from that."