ATLANTA (AP) – The father of a cyclist who died after a hit and run accident in Georgia has come against the driver, as well as against a member of the State House and a police chief who the father says he caused his son’s death by being didn’t report it.

Manfred Keais’ federal lawsuit was brought to the federal court in Rome on September 13, seeking compensation on September 11, 2019, the death of Eric Keais.

Ralph “Ryan” Dover III met Eric Keais that night in Cedartown in northwest Georgia with his SUV. Instead of calling 911, he called his friend, State Representative Trey Kelley. The Republican officer, in turn, called Cedartown Police Chief Jamie Newsome at home, according to authorities. An officer was sent to the area unaware that anyone might have been injured and eventually found Keais lying seriously injured in a ditch. Keais died of his injuries shortly afterwards.

“The Defendants Dover, Kelley and Newsome have conspired to cover up the gravity of the hit-and-run by manipulating the police investigation,” the lawsuit said. “These defendants have jointly acted to further endanger Mr. Keais’ life by ruthlessly and deliberately delaying him and depriving him of life-saving medical treatment.”

Manfred Keais also sued the city of Cedartown and its police. He demands compensation for pain and suffering, medical and funeral costs as well as damages and punitive damages.

Kelley, a Cedartown resident and attorney, represents all of Polk and parts of Floyd and Haralson counties in northwest Georgia. In December, he was charged with reckless behavior for incorrectly failing to report the crash. Dover has been charged with hit and miss and reckless behavior.

“You don’t just go and look. They dial 911 first. Neither of them did that, ”Aaron Keais, Eric Keais’s brother, told WAGA-TV.

Lester Tate, Kelley’s attorney, said his client “completely” denies the allegations. Kelley told police that night that he was not sure if Dover hit a person or a deer. He said he worked with the police.

“I am confident Rep. Kelley has acted in full compliance with Georgia law,” Tate wrote in an email Thursday. “He had no knowledge or legal obligation to do more than what he was doing.”

Kelley has asked a judge to overturn the indictment. However, a judge still has to decide on an application for annulment that has been pending since July.

Kelley resigned from his post as House Majority Leader that year after he was indicted and his wife filed for divorce.

The lawsuit also alleges that Kelley used his political office to “obtain an improper personal favor” and accuses Newsome of violating the department’s procedures.

City attorney Carey Pilgrim told WAGA-TV that the city and Newsome “will deny and defend the substantive allegations in the lawsuit.” Dover did not immediately respond to a Facebook message asking for a comment.


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