Eric Keais.png
A case to watch.
A man died- was this criminal or a very unfortunate circumstances?

Ga. lawmaker, police chief’s response to wreck under review


Sept. 11, 2019

Eric Keais spent most of the last moments of his life gravely injured in a ditch.

The 38-year-old house painter had been riding a bicycle when he was hit by an SUV in Cedartown, Instead of calling 911, the driver Ralph Dover III left the scene and called his friend, state Rep. Trey Kelley. Instead of calling 911, Kelley, who works as a lawyer, called the Cedartown police chief, who also didn’t call 911.

All three men have said they initially thought the SUV had struck an animal, not a person. The driver and Kelley said they looked around the scene and didn’t see Keais in the ditch, which was thick with brush. When a police sergeant found Keais and called for an ambulance ⁠— more than an hour after the crash ⁠— Keais was still alive. He was later pronounced dead at the hospital.

The wreck and its aftermath has been investigated by the Georgia State Patrol and is now under review by the office of Polk County District Attorney Jack Browning.

Eric Keais spent most of the last moments of his life gravely injured in a ditch.

The 38-year-old house painter had been riding a bicycle when he was hit by an SUV in Cedartown, about 60 miles northwest of Atlanta. Instead of calling 911, the driver left the scene and called his friend, state Rep. Trey Kelley, according to police documents. Instead of calling 911, Kelley, who works as a lawyer, called the Cedartown police chief, who also didn’t call 911, records show.

All three men have said they initially thought the SUV had struck an animal, not a person. The driver and Kelley said they looked around the scene and didn’t see Keais in the ditch, which was thick with brush.

When a police sergeant found Keais and called for an ambulance ⁠— more than an hour after the crash ⁠— Keais was still alive. He was later pronounced dead at the hospital.

The Sept. 11, 2019, wreck and its aftermath has been investigated by the Georgia State Patrol and is now under review by the office of Polk County District Attorney Jack Browning. Polk County Coroner Tony Brazier is alarmed by what he learned while looking into the wreck and how it was handled by driver Ralph Dover III, Kelley and Police Chief Jamie Newsome. “They should have contacted 911 immediately. They should’ve got help out there.”

Kelley who serves as the House majority whip, said he contacted Newsome after seeing a bicycle in the ditch. “At that time, I still did not know another human being was involved. I fully cooperated with law enforcement.”


Dover and Kelley had seen each other at the Polk County Fair before the wreck. After Dover left the fair, he drove south on Main Street through Cedartown. The vehicle struck Keais, who flew off the bike and into the ditch, according to police records. The estimated time of the wreck was 8:25 p.m. The collision left the front of the SUV crushed in and streaked with red paint from the bike. Dover kept driving for about a mile and stopped at a gas station, where he called Kelley at 8:28.

Kelley heard distress in Dover’s voice but couldn’t figure out what was wrong. It seemed Dover thought his car had hit an animal. Kelley met Dover at the gas station, and they went to the wreck scene. “After arriving and driving up and down the road,” Kelley said in the statement, “I saw nothing that indicated a life or death situation.”

At some point, Kelley spotted the victim’s bike on the side of the road and called Newsome at home. The call was placed at 9:11 p.m., almost 50 minutes after the estimated crash time.

Kelley asked Newsome if he knew Dover and described the events of the night, beginning with the fair and ending at the wreck scene, Newsome’s statement said. Until Kelley mentioned the bicycle, though, Newsome said he thought the call was meant to seek guidance on filing a vehicle damage report.

“What?” Newsome said, according to the police report. “He might’ve hit a person?” Instead of calling 911, Newsome sent a sergeant. to the scene. While looking around near the bicycle, the sergeant saw something white in the ditch, got closer and realized it was a sock. Then he found Keais, still breathing faintly, and called for an ambulance at 9:28 p.m.

ER staffers worked to save him but pronounced him dead at 10:15 p.m.

DA Browning said his office recently received the investigative files on the wreck and will soon determine “who will be charged for the incident that resulted in Mr. Keais’ tragic death.” He will take the case to the grand jury in the coming weeks.


Among the files Browning received were records from Brazier, who said he ruled the death a homicide by vehicle. Brazier said the case could have turned out differently if someone had dialed 911 sooner.

 
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noZme

Well-known member
I'm sorry, but this is just heartless.

Hitting an animal doesn't leave red paint on a car.

My questions: Did Dover call Kelley because he was an attorney friend he had just seen, or because Kelley had a powerful government position? Was the police chief sending a sargeant to make an accident report or was he honoring the good ole boy system?
 

Guess Who

Well-known member
Hitting an animal doesn't leave red paint on a car.

My questions: Did Dover call Kelley because he was an attorney friend he had just seen, or because Kelley had a powerful government position? Was the police chief sending a sargeant to make an accident report or was he honoring the good ole boy system?
and why drive a mile further and make that call without going to look yourself? He knew and/or he had been drinking.
 

GrandmaBear

‘We Have Nothing to Fear Except Fear Itself'
Does anyone know if it would be dark in Georgia in September at 8:25 p.m.? This sounds like it was in town and yet the victim was in a ditch? I am simply wondering if he should have been able to see the bike easily, were there streetlights, was it daylight, etc.?

No expert but how hard would one have to hit a bike to damage a front end of an SUV and send the rider into the ditch unseen? Pretty hard I imagine. I again wonder if he was in town or not and what the speed limit was.

This sounds like a cover up but you have the Majority Whip, a police chief and the offender all saying they did not know a person was involved. Pretty hard to believe...

I don't know how Georgia is but if I thought I hit a deer, I would not be calling my State Representative, the only reason to do that is the obvious one imo. And then the Rep calls the Police Chief? Again pretty obvious what the reason would be for that. Proving it I guess is another thing though...

One final thought, if I thought I hit a deer or a dog, or did not know, I would be stopping to see if the animal was all right at minimum. If it was a dog, I would be running it to the vet, calling LE if alive and/or trying to find the owners if not. I also seriously doubt this man did not have a cell phone on him with no need to go to a gas station, and then he does not call local LE or 911 but a State Rep. I can see no reason for that regardless of whether he knew him or had just seen him except for the obvious.

I also honestly think the driver put the rep in this position IF he did not tell him it was a bicycle and a person possibly but again, who can be sure now because of the way it was handled?

If I were the painter's family, I would be extremely upset with the thought his life could have been saved.

Just my opinion and "off of the top of my head" thoughts.
 

Guess Who

Well-known member
Does anyone know if it would be dark in Georgia in September at 8:25 p.m.? This sounds like it was in town and yet the victim was in a ditch? I am simply wondering if he should have been able to see the bike easily, were there streetlights, was it daylight, etc.?

No expert but how hard would one have to hit a bike to damage a front end of an SUV and send the rider into the ditch unseen? Pretty hard I imagine. I again wonder if he was in town or not and what the speed limit was.

This sounds like a cover up but you have the Majority Whip, a police chief and the offender all saying they did not know a person was involved. Pretty hard to believe...

I don't know how Georgia is but if I thought I hit a deer, I would not be calling my State Representative, the only reason to do that is the obvious one imo. And then the Rep calls the Police Chief? Again pretty obvious what the reason would be for that. Proving it I guess is another thing though...

One final thought, if I thought I hit a deer or a dog, or did not know, I would be stopping to see if the animal was all right at minimum. If it was a dog, I would be running it to the vet, calling LE if alive and/or trying to find the owners if not. I also seriously doubt this man did not have a cell phone on him with no need to go to a gas station, and then he does not call local LE or 911 but a State Rep. I can see no reason for that regardless of whether he knew him or had just seen him except for the obvious.

I also honestly think the driver put the rep in this position IF he did not tell him it was a bicycle and a person possibly but again, who can be sure now because of the way it was handled?

If I were the painter's family, I would be extremely upset with the thought his life could have been saved.

Just my opinion and "off of the top of my head" thoughts.
and was he ever given a sobriety test even an hour after? Or was he advised to hurry up and have a drink so he could muddy the waters if one as given and he could say it was after the wreck?
 

GrandmaBear

‘We Have Nothing to Fear Except Fear Itself'
and was he ever given a sobriety test even an hour after? Or was he advised to hurry up and have a drink so he could muddy the waters if one as given and he could say it was after the wreck?

Exactly. Drink, drugs, he was afraid of something. I should not read things into this that may not be there but he sounds entitled and used to someone getting him out of trouble by calling someone he knows with "power"...
 

noZme

Well-known member
City finally comments on 11Alive investigation into aftermath of deadly crash involving state rep, police chief

A firestorm ignited online with community members, demanding accountability of two Georgia officials accused of covering up a fatal crash.
Since the release of our exclusive investigation, the community and other officials have been calling for the resignation of Rep. Kelley and Newsome, as well as charges against Dover.

The Polk County District Attorney Jack Browning announced after he was made aware of our report that he plans to take this case to the Grand Jury within the next few weeks.

It's been five months since the crash and Browning told The Reveal in a statement that the investigation "was lengthy."

The attorney representing Eric Keais' family said they believe there was an attempt to cover up his death, but she said the family appreciates Browning for moving the case forward.

"But be that as it may, we are extremely appreciative that the DA has worked expeditiously to move this case along. As you can imagine, the family is very anxious to have the people that are responsible for Eric's death be held accountable," said attorney Min Koo.

Koo said they plan to pursue legal action and will file a notice to the city of Cedartown, the police chief, Dover, and the house majority whip in the coming weeks.

1581602900213.png

The family wants justice for Eric and Koo said that won't come until all involved are held accountable, not just the driver.

"His actions alone didn't cause Eric's death. Actions of Trey Kelley and Chief Newsome directly contributed to Eric's death." Koo continued saying "It's clear that the protocols were blatantly disregarded and common sense was ignored. Instead deliberate and intentional actions were taken to cover up a crime."

After we released our investigation, Kelley sent a second, more detailed statement about what happened.

He said he got a call that night from a Polk County citizen he had seen at the fair. He didn't mention Dover was a friend.

The Reveal found a picture of the two of them together from years ago and when we spoke to Dover's parents, they told us that Kelley and Dover were close. They claim Kelley took Dover "under his wing" years ago.

In the new statement from Kelley, he claimed Dover "is well liked and is known to have limited mental capacity." Eric's family doesn't believe that's enough of a defense. From our investigation we found that Dover has held a job, lived by himself and had a license.

In the newest statement, Kelley didn't mention why he himself never called 911, but said Dover wasn't sure what he hit so he went to the scene to meet him.

By his own admission, Kelley saw a bike in the ditch in the area of the crash but said "I still did not know another human being was involved," and he felt the right thing to do was to call police.

But he called the police chief at home, not the police department.

Another Georgia Representative has spoken out, calling for Rep. Kelley's resignation from his seat. He is currently the House Majority Whip.

"Anybody who is lacking the moral courage to place what may be good for your friend over potentially saving a person's life has no business in the Georgia General Assembly and absolutely cannot represent me or my family," said Rep. Renitta Shannon.

City of Cedartown 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 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."


Kelley's full statement's:
This is the first statement Kelley sent us after we spoke to him at the Capitol.

"On September 11, 2019, a bicyclist tragically lost his life when he was accidentally struck by a Polk County resident on Highway 27 in Cedartown at night near the Dollar General Market. The citizen thought he may have hit a deer, but upon my arrival at the scene, I determined it best to call the police to investigate. The bicyclist was found 20’ off the roadway in heavy brush. This has been a traumatic accident for everyone. Out of respect for everyone involved and ongoing investigations, no other statements can be given at this time. My prayers go out to everyone impacted by this accident."

The day after our investigation was published, Kelley sent us a more lengthy statement.

"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 on going investigation as a witness and will continue to do so."


 

noZme

Well-known member
CEDARTOWN GA
Cedartown is a city in Polk County, Georgia, United States. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 9,750. The city is the county seat of Polk County.


Main Street (Bus 27) runs N & S
 

GarAndMo39

Not a Sheeple!
City finally comments on 11Alive investigation into aftermath of deadly crash involving state rep, police chief

A firestorm ignited online with community members, demanding accountability of two Georgia officials accused of covering up a fatal crash.
Since the release of our exclusive investigation, the community and other officials have been calling for the resignation of Rep. Kelley and Newsome, as well as charges against Dover.

The Polk County District Attorney Jack Browning announced after he was made aware of our report that he plans to take this case to the Grand Jury within the next few weeks.

It's been five months since the crash and Browning told The Reveal in a statement that the investigation "was lengthy."

The attorney representing Eric Keais' family said they believe there was an attempt to cover up his death, but she said the family appreciates Browning for moving the case forward.

"But be that as it may, we are extremely appreciative that the DA has worked expeditiously to move this case along. As you can imagine, the family is very anxious to have the people that are responsible for Eric's death be held accountable," said attorney Min Koo.

Koo said they plan to pursue legal action and will file a notice to the city of Cedartown, the police chief, Dover, and the house majority whip in the coming weeks.

View attachment 479

The family wants justice for Eric and Koo said that won't come until all involved are held accountable, not just the driver.

"His actions alone didn't cause Eric's death. Actions of Trey Kelley and Chief Newsome directly contributed to Eric's death." Koo continued saying "It's clear that the protocols were blatantly disregarded and common sense was ignored. Instead deliberate and intentional actions were taken to cover up a crime."

After we released our investigation, Kelley sent a second, more detailed statement about what happened.

He said he got a call that night from a Polk County citizen he had seen at the fair. He didn't mention Dover was a friend.

The Reveal found a picture of the two of them together from years ago and when we spoke to Dover's parents, they told us that Kelley and Dover were close. They claim Kelley took Dover "under his wing" years ago.

In the new statement from Kelley, he claimed Dover "is well liked and is known to have limited mental capacity." Eric's family doesn't believe that's enough of a defense. From our investigation we found that Dover has held a job, lived by himself and had a license.

In the newest statement, Kelley didn't mention why he himself never called 911, but said Dover wasn't sure what he hit so he went to the scene to meet him.

By his own admission, Kelley saw a bike in the ditch in the area of the crash but said "I still did not know another human being was involved," and he felt the right thing to do was to call police.

But he called the police chief at home, not the police department.

Another Georgia Representative has spoken out, calling for Rep. Kelley's resignation from his seat. He is currently the House Majority Whip.

"Anybody who is lacking the moral courage to place what may be good for your friend over potentially saving a person's life has no business in the Georgia General Assembly and absolutely cannot represent me or my family," said Rep. Renitta Shannon.

City of Cedartown 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 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."


Kelley's full statement's:
This is the first statement Kelley sent us after we spoke to him at the Capitol.

"On September 11, 2019, a bicyclist tragically lost his life when he was accidentally struck by a Polk County resident on Highway 27 in Cedartown at night near the Dollar General Market. The citizen thought he may have hit a deer, but upon my arrival at the scene, I determined it best to call the police to investigate. The bicyclist was found 20’ off the roadway in heavy brush. This has been a traumatic accident for everyone. Out of respect for everyone involved and ongoing investigations, no other statements can be given at this time. My prayers go out to everyone impacted by this accident."

The day after our investigation was published, Kelley sent us a more lengthy statement.

"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 on going investigation as a witness and will continue to do so."


This is SO much B.S.! Give me a break!:mad:
 

GrandmaBear

‘We Have Nothing to Fear Except Fear Itself'
This man was alive for an hour and one half before his heart stopped!!

Who calls a police chief at home over a possible animal hit?? We all know the answer to that. Was 911 or the department called first? No!!!

Did the driver have a cell phone? I would like to know.
 

noZme

Well-known member
most concerning to me:

He kept driving with "the passenger side head light, hood and fender area caved in along with the passenger side windshield shattered and caved in," the police report read.

There was also a bit of red paint on the front bumper of the impact area, the document notes.

Dover drove almost a mile before stopping in a convenience store parking lot.





also, I would like to know what, if any, other calls were made by Dover.
Grand Jury will be presented the full story. If the determination is a True Bill, all the information may not be known until trial which could mean years.
 

GrandmaBear

‘We Have Nothing to Fear Except Fear Itself'
most concerning to me:

He kept driving with "the passenger side head light, hood and fender area caved in along with the passenger side windshield shattered and caved in," the police report read.

There was also a bit of red paint on the front bumper of the impact area, the document notes.

Dover drove almost a mile before stopping in a convenience store parking lot.





also, I would like to know what, if any, other calls were made by Dover.
Grand Jury will be presented the full story. If the determination is a True Bill, all the information may not be known until trial which could mean years.

I too want to know about other calls and whether he had a cell phone. I assume he did, pay phones hardly exist any longer.

It is quite clear what was going on here imo.
 

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