The sentencing hearing concluded this morning with the outcome that a family who are left with a hole in their lives feels was right.
Ralph “Ryan” Dover III will be spending half a decade behind bars as Judge Mary Staley decided to hand down the maximum possible sentence of five years in the hit-and-run death of Eric Keais in September 2019.
Dover was back in court this morning for the sentencing hearing after he was found guilty in a Judge’s trial on July 25 after two days of proceedings in front of Judge Staley.
District Attorney Jack Browning said the earlier verdict in July and now the sentence brings some justice to a family who lost a loved one in a tragic and unnecessary way.
“(I’m) pleased we were able to bring closure for the family,” Browning told Polk Today. “The family addressed the court and, while expressing sorrow that no court proceeding can possibly fill the hole left by Eric’s untimely and senseless death, they were pleased with the outcome and the attention and concern shown by all in the court system throughout Eric’s case.”
Keais was struck while riding his bicycle on the night of September 11, 2019 when Dover was on his way to a convenience store to make purchases. Instead of stopping, Dover continued to the store and called his friend State Rep. Trey Kelley for help. The pair ultimately returned to the Dollar General Market almost directly across the street from where Keais was found almost an hour after he was hit and Dover fled.
Instead of calling 911 for help and immediately pulling over, Dover called Kelley who in turn contacted Cedartown Police Chief Jamie Newsome. Newsome ultimately testified about his part in the matter for the prosecution and during questioning related how there were multiple places for Dover to pull over and call for help.
Keais died of his injuries, which the prosecution was able to show during the trial in July was preventable had he received immediate treatment.
The sentencing came just weeks shy of the fourth anniversary of Keais’ death.