CEDARTOWN, Ga. — 2/27/2020 UPDATE: This case is going to the Grand Jury in March according to a new press release we received from Polk County District Attorney Jack Browning on Thursday morning.
"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. 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," the statement reads.
According to the Polk County Clerk of Superior Court, the Grand Jury convenes March 16 and 17.
Read his full statement at the bottom of this article.
2/10/2020 UPDATE: There's outrage and a swift reaction following the release of a Reveal investigation into a deadly crash, including confirmation of possible charges and a Georgia representative calling for another to resign.
Polk County District Attorney Jack Browning says he was made aware of the report and felt compelled to release more information on where the case stands.
That case is the death of Eric Keais in September, which the county coroner ruled as a "hit and run homicide."
A driver hit Keais while he was riding his bicycle down North Main Street in Cedartown.
The driver, 37-year-old Ralph "Ryan" Dover III, kept driving and instead of calling 911, he called Georgia Representative Trey Kelley. Our investigation found Kelley then called Cedartown Police Chief Jamie Newsome at home.
No one called 911 and Keais laid in the ditch for an hour before a police sergeant found him. About 45 minutes later, he was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Five months since the deadly crash, no charges have been filed in the case.
But Monday, Browning released a statement in response to The Reveal's findings, saying "the investigation, like many other fatality investigations, was lengthy, involving numerous witness interviews and evidence gathered from various agencies and other entities."
He went on to say, he is currently reviewing the case and plans to take it to the Grand Jury within the next few weeks. The Polk County Grand Jury convenes next week and again in March. Browning says he hopes to present his case at one of those meetings.
The attorney for Keais' family says that's a stark difference in what the DA told her a week before 11Alive publish our investigation.
Min Koo says, in her conversation with the district attorney, Browning indicated he's had the investigative files for some time, but did not have a timeline for action. After pressing further, she says, Browning told her that he hoped to have a decision by this summer.
The DA confirms to The Reveal that he spoke with the Keais' family attorney and says he has had the completed investigative files for a couple of weeks now, but he doesn't recall giving the attorney that timeline.
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Browning won't say if Kelley or Newsome will face any charges in this case. But he did say his office is working "to determine what and who will be charged for the incident."
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 2/27/2020 STATEMENT:
"In the matter concerning the death of Mr. Eric Keais, who was struck and killed by a passing motorist as he rode his bicycle along Main Street in Cedartown, Polk County District Attorney, Jack Browning, provides the following update.
“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. 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.
While I understand Polk County citizens’ justified interest and concern over this matter, it is not appropriate for me to comment on or provide details of the investigation before the matter is presented to a Grand Jury, due to the ethical rules by which I am bound as District Attorney, as well as the constitutional due process rights of those involved, and, most importantly, out of respect for the privacy of Mr. Keais’ family.
Polk County citizens deserve and can be assured that, as with any case we prosecute, my office and I are committed to and will seek justice according to the applicable law and the evidence of the case, without bias or favor toward any individual who may be involved.”
More of this exclusive Reveal Investigation:
The Reveal is an investigative show exposing inequality, injustice, and ineptitude created by people in power throughout Georgia and across the country. It airs Sunday nights at 6 on 11Alive.