Debbie Bowman and her daughter, Emily Bowman, a previous KSU student and victim of a drunken driving incident, will speak at KSU’s third annual Owls Arrive Alive event presented by Phi Eta Sigma during National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week.
Kennesaw, Ga. (Phi Eta Sigma) October 16, 2015 – Mobility and the freedom to express oneself through words and communicative actions are often instinctive responses. The seemingly average life of a 19-year-old KSU student took a drastic, unexpected turn during a weekend trip to Athens, Ga. on Feb. 16, 2013, when she was struck by a drunken driver who veered off the road. The driver fled the scene.
Emily Bowman, a graduate of Woodstock High School, was walking with friend on Oak Street at about 3 a.m. when a red Mazda pick-up truck hit her from behind, according to authorities. She received emergency brain surgery soon after the incident occurred, and remained in a coma for nearly three weeks.
William Wilson Heaton Jr., the man accused of hitting Bowman, later turned himself in and was arrested. He was sentenced to 20 years, with the first 10 to be spent in prison followed by 10 years on probation.
“I wish there was some way for you to understand that I’m sorry, and I will be sorry for the rest of my life,” Heaton said at the end of his court hearing in Dec. 2014.
The Bows for Bowman Facebook page, which has garnered more than 54,000 likes since its creation, provides continuous updates to the community about Emily’s condition. According to this page, on April 16, 2014, Emily spoke her first words since the incident. Nearly one year later on June 29, 2015, she took her first steps with the aid of a walker. Due to the severity of Emily’s brain injuries, she continues to receive rehabilitation care as she embarks on the daily fight to recovery. Emily and her mother, Debbie Bowman, currently travel to different schools, businesses, conferences and events to share the traumatic story of an avoidable incident that changed their lives forever.
“No amount of money, no amount of time is going to fix what happened to Emily,” Emily’s father, Dale Bowman, said during a CBS News interview.
Emily and Debbie will speak at Owls Arrive Alive, an event designed to inform students about the dangers of distracted driving through an educational presentation and the inclusion of a car crash simulation, at KSU on Oct. 23 at 2 p.m. on the Campus Green. This event is made possible with the assistance of the KSU Department of Public Safety, Air Methods and the fire departments of Cherokee and Cobb County. Free food will be provided.