Woman severely injured after hit-and-run returns home

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WOODSTOCK, Ga. - The Cherokee County college student severely injured during a hit-and-run was released from the hospital on Thursday.

It was an emotional homecoming, as dozens surrounded Emily Bowman's front driveway in Woodstock to welcome the family home.

Emily Bowman, 20, suffered severe brain injuries after an alleged drunk driver hit her while she was walking home from downtown Athens.

Since February, Emily has been in the hospital. Emily is still unable to speak, and is confined to a wheelchair. Her parents have stayed by the college student's side, and are now faced with the new challenge of having her away from the 24-hour care of doctors.

"We knew she couldn't be in the hospital forever, and 19 weeks is enough," Bowman said.

Amid hugs and a lot of tears, family and friends came to support her as she arrived home. She was wheeled into her Woodstock home by close family friends.

"It is really amazing I have so many emotions going right now," said Debbie Bowman, who is Emily's mother. "I just never dreamed all of this could happen, I was looking at handicapped accessible places for her to live."

Volunteers from the non-profit Sunshine on a Ranney Day spent hours transforming the house to meet Emily's new needs, including a handicapped-accessible bathroom and a bed decorated with all of Emily's favorite colors.

Founder Holly Ranney admits the renovation was a bit of a scramble, because Emily was released sooner than expected.

"Yes, but we work better off of a little chaos," Ranney said.

Volunteers renovated the bathroom to comply with ADA standards. Someone even donated a hospital bed for Emily.

"I will do what I can to make their lives easier because they have a long road ahead of them," said Jennifer Gallagher, who is a volunteer from Woodstock.

"These people are the heroes, these people are the heroes," said Tammy Naumik, who is Emily's godmother.

"People I don't even know have been here. It's just hard because I am just so appreciative, everything that's been done for us," Debbie Bowman said.