Trial for man accused in Erick Keais hit-and-run delayed

Tuesday, Mar. 7, 2023–10:23 a.m.

-Jeremy Stewart, Polk Standard Journal-

Ralph “Ryan” Dover III

The trial for an Aragon man accused in the fatal hit-and-run that killed a man on a bicycle in Cedartown has been delayed.

A hearing in the trial of Ralph “Ryan” Dover III was scheduled for Monday in Polk County Superior Court but was canceled last minute after the Polk County District Attorney’s Office and Senior Judge Mary Staley Clark, the presiding judge in the case, agreed to a continuance in the trial.

Dover is charged with felony hit and run resulting in serious injury or death and misdemeanor reckless conduct stemming from the September 2019 incident that led to the death of 38-year-old Erick Keais.

An order last month had set Monday, March 6, as the date for a jury trial in the case, but Clark agreed Monday to continue the trial for a later date.

No definitive reason for the continuance was immediately available. An order for a psychiatric evaluation on Dover was submitted by the defense last April and was approved with no objection by the district attorney’s office.

The purpose of the evaluation, according to the order, is to determine if Dover is able to comprehend the nature of the charges against him, and whether or not he would be able to properly recall the events of the night the incident occurred, among other reasons.

Dover was driving on Main Street north of downtown Cedartown on the evening of Sept. 11, 2019, when he allegedly struck Keais, who was riding a bicycle.

The incident sparked a series of events that allegedly included Dover calling state Rep. Trey Kelley, a local attorney, after he reported hitting something while driving. As part of that incident, Kelley called Cedartown Police Chief Jamie Newsome before a Cedartown police sergeant arrived at the scene and discovered Keais lying in a ditch.

A Polk County Coroner’s report listed Keais’ cause of death on the death certificate as homicide by hit and run and stated that Keais was struck by a vehicle driven by Dover. It said that Keais was struck at 8:20 p.m., but the officer didn’t call for ambulance and fire service until 9:26 p.m.

He was pronounced dead later that night at an area hospital.

Kelley was initially indicted for reckless conduct in connection with the incident but a judge dismissed the charge in December 2021, stating in a ruling that Kelley was not directly involved in the crash.

In addition, the judge wrote that the indictment, even if true, did not accuse Kelley of any actions that constitute a crime.

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