Georgia is seeing one of the most influential Republicans in its state House retreating from his post.
Republican state Rep. Trey Kelley of Georgia is stepping down from his leadership role as Majority Whip in the statehouse after a misdemeanor indictment in a hit-and-run-crash case from two years ago, according to the Associated Press.
Kelley would remain in the state House where he had been the fourth-ranking member among the House Republicans.
His House GOP colleagues were informed of the decision on Thursday, July 7, via email, telling them that he would relinquish his central role though he would remain in the House.
“I knew when I accepted this role it wouldn’t be forever and now is the time for me to dedicate more time and energy to my professional and personal life,” read the email. “I feel that it is necessary for me to step down today from my role as majority whip.”
In December, a Polk County grand jury indicted Kelley on misdemeanor charges of reckless conduct judging from his actions after a deadly hit-and-run in 2019.
A friend of Kelley, Ralph “Ryan” Dover III, hit a cyclist in West Georgia and left the scene, had summoned him. When Kelly arrived, he did not initially call 911 but dialed the local chief of police instead.
An officer eventually got to the area roughly one hour later and found the cyclist in a ditch severely wounded. Unfortunately, the victim died shortly after he was moved to a hospital.
While prosecutors accused him of not taking the proper action, Kelley defended he was not aware of the exact matter of the situation and denied any wrongdoing.
“At that time, I still did not know another human being was involved,” he said in a statement, and he was not certain if his friend hit a person or a deer. “I fully cooperated with law enforcement.”
In June, his attorney requested the judge to quash the indictment that “failed to establish any legal duty under which Mr. Kelley was required to act.” Still, the prosecutors pressed that the charges were based on Kelley’s behavior after the accident, per the Northwest Georgia News.
Under Georgia law, a person may be convicted of a crime even if they do not directly commit the crime but aid or advise a person who committed a crime.
The judge has not given his final decision yet.