Charges against Georgia state Rep. Trey Kelley (Cedartown) following a fatal hit and run have been dropped.
Senior Superior Court Judge Stephen Schuster dismissed an indictment against Kelley ruling that his failure to call 911 in response to the death of a bicyclist two years ago was not reckless conduct.
Reports said that Kelley’s friend, Raph Dover III, called the state representative instead of 911 after a crash near Walmart in Cedartown.
Kelley then went to the scene and then proceeded to call Cedartown Police Chief Jamie Newsome instead of 911.
Newsome then dispatched a police officer, who found the bicyclist, Eric Keais, alive. However, Keais succumbed to his injuries a short time later.
Schuster said that because Kelley was not the driver he had no obligation to call 911 after learning of the incident. He said, “To follow the state’s position in this case, every driver passing by a collision on the roadway must now ‘immediately’ contact 911 or they have committed a crime,” Schuster wrote. “There is simply no such crime.”
A wrongful death lawsuit against Kelley is still pending.
Dover is still facing hit and run and reckless conduct charges.
Polk County State Representative Trey Kelly and Raph Dover have been jailed for their role in a fatal hit and run in Cedartown.
A Polk County grand jury has indicted State Representative Trey Kelley after his involvement in a hit and run that resulted in the death of Eric Keais in September of 2019.
Kelley was indicted for reckless conduct.
According to Lester Tate of Akin & Tate, PC of Cartersville, who is representing State Rep. Trey Kelley, “We did receive notice from the DA’s office today that misdemeanor charges have been filed against Mr. Kelley, I have not yet had an opportunity to review the actual charges, but I am well aware of facts surrounding the case, and I believe strongly once those facts come to light that they will show that Mr. Kelley did nothing wrong in the situation. I look forward to our opportunity to present those facts in court.”
Kelley is expected to turn himself in Friday.
A press release stated that District Attorney, Jack Browning, who presented the case to the Grand Jury, stated that “over the course of two days, the Grand Jurors heard a substantial amount of testimonial and video evidence from law enforcement officers and the GBI medical examiner, as well as several witness interview recordings from those involved in, and with direct knowledge of, the incident.”
Tallapoosa Circuit District Attorney Jack Browning is investigating a case involving a hit and run that occurred last year in Cedartown, in which Georgia Representative Trey Kelley and Cedartown Police Chief Jamie Newsome are being looked at.
The case began last September when 37 year-old Raph “Ryan; Dover III, kept driving after being involved in a hit and run in which Eric Keais was killed.
According to reports Dover called Kelley instead of 911 and then Kelley called Newsome at home. It wasn’t until around an hour after the hit and run that 911 was notified.
Polk County Coroner Tony Brazier listed the cause on the death certificate as homicide by hit and run.
From WXIA Tv : Timeline – time of crash – 8:25 pm, Rep Kelley calls Newsome – 9:11, Newsome contacts Sgt via radio from home – 9:17, Sgt. Tells dispatch he is at crash scene – 9:22, EMS dispatched – 9:29, Sgt. Finds Eric in ditch, EMS arrives – 9:31, Eric’s heart stops – 9:59, Eric pronounced dead – 10:15 pm
Georgia Representative Renitta Shannon has called for the resignation of Kelley, saying “if you don’t have the good sense to call 911 after you see evidence of a possible hit and run, you can’t possibly represent 50k Georgians.”
POLK DA BROWNING FULL STATEMENT:
The Georgia State Patrol recently turned over to our office their completed investigation of the incident which occurred on September 11, 2019, involving 38-year-old, Mr. Eric Keais, being struck and killed by a motorist while riding his bicycle on Main Street, north of Cedartown.
The investigation, like many other fatality investigations, was lengthy, involving numerous witness interviews and evidence gathered from various agencies and other entities. This commonly slows and adds to the time necessary to complete such an investigation. It is also not unusual or uncommon for the Georgia State Patrol to defer to, and work with, the District Attorney’s Office in determining the correct charges.
Our office has already begun the process of reviewing the investigation to determine what and who will be charged for the incident that resulted in Mr. Keais’s tragic death. I anticipate bringing those charges to a Polk County Grand Jury soon in the coming weeks. On behalf of myself and the District Attorney’s Office, our deepest condolences go out to Mr. Keais’s family for their tragic loss