CEDARTOWN, Ga. — Another state lawmaker has joined the chorus of community and state leaders calling for accountability after The Reveal investigation found “troubling” details in the aftermath of a deadly hit and run crash involving a state representative and police chief.
Georgia Representative Shelly Hutchinson released a statement Thursday regarding House Majority Whip Trey Kelley’s part in the incident.
"This alleged behavior from a Representative is unacceptable, harmful to our state, and beneath his office," reads Rep. Hutchinson's statement.
She went on to say she’s troubled by the details of the aftermath of the crash which happened the night of September 11, 2019.
As The Reveal previously reported, Eric Keais was hit by an SUV while riding his bicycle in Cedartown.
The driver, Ralph Dover, kept going for nearly a mile before finally calling someone. He didn't call 911, but called his friend, Rep. Kelley. That's according to documents The Reveal obtained from investigators.
Kelley didn't call 911 either, according to an incident report from the Cedartown Police Department. Kelley instead called Cedartown Police Chief Jamie Newsome.
Newsome was off-duty and at home at the time, according to his own statement to investigators. Newsome in turn called his sergeant to go speak with Kelley and the driver.
By the time the sergeant found Keais in the ditch and called for an ambulance, it had been an hour since the crash. Keais was pronounced dead 45 minutes later at the hospital.
The Polk County coroner declared the death a “hit and run homicide”, but five months later, no one has been charged.
"This story highlights the worst stereotypes and fears people have about government officials - that our power will not be used to help the public, but to benefit our personal friends and allow them to get away with anything," Hutchinson said in her statement.
Rep. Hutchinson is just the latest official to release a statement about The Reveal investigation. State Representatives Matthew Wilson, Renitta Shannon, and Senator Jen Jordan have all commented on the report. Shannon says she thinks Kelley, the house majority whip should resign immediately.
"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," Shannon told The Reveal.
Community members have also been asking the question, why has no one been charged in Keais' death?
Polk County District Attorney Jack Browning told us he just received the investigative files from the Georgia State Patrol and he plans to present it to a Grand Jury in the coming weeks. Browning provided a statement to The Reveal on Monday, the day after we published our findings here on 11Alive.com.
Browning said in his statement that 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 "this commonly slows and adds to the time necessary to complete such an investigation."
Well-known Tea Party activist Amy Kremer has also chimed in about Kelley and Newsome's roles in the aftermath of the crash. She tweeted, "Trey Kelley and the Police Chief should resign...but they both, along with the driver, should be arrested and charged in the death of this man. Sure seems like the good ole boy network is covering for their own."
Other tweets from Kremer use the hashtag #ResignTreyKelley and tag multiple Georgia Republicans calling for a response. Among those that she tagged are Gov. Brian Kemp, Lt. Governor Geoff Duncan, and Attorney General Chris Carr.
The Reveal has reached out to Governor Kemp for a comment. We'll update this story if and when we receive one.
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.