The next grand jury for the Tallapoosa Circuit will get to hear the evidence around a fatal hit-and-run that, in the aftermath, involved State Rep. Trey Kelley and Cedartown Police Chief Jamie Newsome.
Tallapoosa District Attorney Jack Browning said it is his intention to present the case to the March term of the grand jury that’ll begin sitting next month.
“I have completed my review of the investigation recently turned over to my office by the Georgia State Patrol concerning the death of Mr. Eric Keais,” Browning said in a written statement.
“While our office continues to actively conduct additional follow-up investigation into the incident, we are now ready to present the matter to a Polk County Grand Jury.”
Reports from the Georgia Bureau of Investigation and the Georgia State Patrol came to the district attorney’s office after months of efforts from law enforcement to pin down the events that transpired on the night of Sept. 11, 2019, involving the death of Keais.
He was struck while riding his bicycle on North Main Street across from the Dollar General Market in Cedartown, and later died of his injuries. Polk County Coroner Tony Brazier listed the cause on the death certificate as homicide by hit and run. His report stated that Keais was struck by a vehicle driven by Ralph “Ryan” Dover III.
The coroner’s report stated that instead of calling 911 to report the wreck, Dover instead called state Rep. Trey Kelley to come and help him. After Kelley arrived and looked over Dover’s vehicle, he then called Cedartown Police Chief Jamie Newsome to send an officer out to see what Dover had hit.
It was more than an hour before Keais was discovered by a Cedartown police officer and rushed to the hospital, where he died while medical personnel fought to save his life.
After the story of Keais’ death came to light, calls for the resignation of Kelley and Newsome have come from various voices — and one watchdog group that also wants federal authorities to investigate what happened as well.
Neither Kelley nor Newsome have responded to several requests for comment about the calls for their resignation.