State Representative, City of Cedartown respond to report regarding alleged hit and run

The City of Cedartown and State Representative Trey Kelley have both released statements regarding an incident in September of last year in which a man riding a bicycle was killed.

38-year old Eric Keais was struck by a vehicle while riding his bicycle on Main Street north of Cedartown.

The case was the focus of an expose by 11 Alive in Atlanta who reported the driver, 37-year-old Ralph “Ryan” Dover III, kept driving and called State Representative Trey Kelley instead of 911.

According to the report, Kelley then called Cedartown Police Chief Jamie Newsome at home.

The report indicated it was close to an hour before help arrived

Polk County Coroner Tony Brazier told 11 Alive that if 911 would have gotten the call like they should have, Keais might still be alive.

To date, no charges have been filed.

In a statement issued Tuesday, Kelley said:

“It is heartbreaking that our community has experienced a tragedy like this. Our thoughts and our prayers go out to the victim and the families involved. After getting messages from so many, I wanted to tell my story regarding the evening of September 11, 2019.

That night I received a call from a Polk County citizen who I had seen earlier in the night at the Polk County Fair. This individual worked at a local supermarket, is well-liked and is known to have limited mental capacity. He was agitated and upset because he had been involved in an accident and thought he may have hit an animal with his car. After trying unsuccessfully to calm him down and find out what he may have hit, I still had no idea what had happened. At that time, I felt the right thing to do was to go to his location to try to find out what had happened. So, I put my boots back on and got in my truck. After arriving and driving up and down the road, I saw nothing that indicated a life or death situation, but when I saw a bike located in the ditch off the right side of the roadway, I felt the right thing to do was to call the police and that is what I did. At that time, I still did not know another human being was involved. I fully cooperated with law enforcement at the scene and in the ongoing investigation as a witness and will continue to do so.”

The City of Cedartown also issued a statement:

The City of Cedartown is aware of an incident that occurred on September 11, 2019, which resulted in the tragic passing of Eric Keais.  Our deepest sympathies and condolences go out to Mr. Keais’s family.

“As with any traffic event of this magnitude, the incident was thoroughly and independently investigated by the Georgia State Patrol.  The GSP investigation took several months, which is not unusual in a case like this one.  The investigation was completed with the full cooperation of the Cedartown Police Department.

“Our understanding is that the Georgia State Patrol’s Specialized Collision Reconstruction Team report has been submitted to the District Attorney’s office and that any potential prosecution will be taken to a grand jury in the coming weeks.

“Because this is an ongoing criminal case, the City cannot comment further on this matter, other than to reiterate our belief in due process of law and to express our faith in the officials in the District Attorney’s office who would ultimately make decisions regarding the prosecution.”