The Russell County district attorney has stepped aside in the potential criminal case stemming from the April death of a Phenix City cyclist who was struck twice by motorists on Summerville Road.
District Attorney Kenneth Davis handed the case over to the Alabama Attorney General's Office last month, citing a potential conflict of interest.
Davis, who rarely recuses his office from a prosecution, met with the parents of Sean Rey, who died as a result of injuries suffered during the April 2 incident, before making the decision. He also discussed it with an assistant attorney general.
"The assistant attorney general and myself both agreed that I needed to recuse myself based on everything that has happened," Davis said on Thursday. "We felt like it was in the best interest of the case and the people of Russell County."
Davis knows one of the alleged drivers, Forest Duncan, 82, of Phenix City. Duncan once worked as a bailiff in the Russell County Courthouse and his son currently holds that position. Duncan is the father-in-law of Phenix City Councilmember Chris Blackshear. Sean Rey, 26, died April 18 as a result of the injuries he suffered when he was hit in the early hours of April 2 as he rode to work.
Around 6 a.m. April 2 Rey was traveling north in the 3600 block of Summerville Road when he collided with a white 1992 Ford pick-up truck that turned in front of him at 36th Street and Summerville Road, police said. The truck was driven by Rebecca Roberts, 21, of Phenix City, Smith said. Roberts turned around and stopped her truck, police said.
Rey was hit a second time moments later as he laid in Summerville Road, Police Chief Ray Smith said. That driver, who is suspected to be Duncan, left the scene.
Duncan's vehicle was found at a Columbus repair shop after he took the sedan in because it was overheating due to damage to the radiator, police have said. Evidence from the car was sent to the state crime lab.
No one has been charged with a crime in connection with the incident.
Rey worked at the Chevron on Summerville Road, and the collision was about 25 yards from it.
Assistant Attorney General John Kachelman has been assigned the case. Kachelman said Wednesday he is currently reviewing the file, which he has received in the last two weeks.
"We are still waiting on DNA testing and other forensic evidence," Kachelman said.
Before recusing his office, Davis said he was planning to take the case in front of a grand jury earlier this month. That did not happen.
"I was really hoping it would go to the grand jury and get that part of this over with," said Skip Rey, the victim's father. "...I know we are in a holding pattern and don't know how long we are going to stay here."
Kachelman did not say how or when he will proceed with the case. Since getting the case, Kachelman has spoken with the victim's mother, Brenda Rey.
The Reys have expressed their frustration with the legal process and with the Phenix City Police Department. A Facebook page, "Justice for Sean Rey," has been created and Brenda Rey posts regularly to the page.
"It doesn't seem to matter to them," Brenda Rey said of the Phenix City police on Wednesday. "This where our frustration is coming from."